DOMINION PROBLEM IN ETHICS
By ARTHUR J. BURKS By HENRY KUTTNER
FUN FOR A SOLDIER
Gypsy Rose Lee
(the most famous "$frip Tease Artist" on the
stage today) WROTE
The Story of a Burlesque Girl
How to Moke a Good
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Living on a Small Farm
COME INTO MY^ PARLOR ‘
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ANYONE CAN DRAW! A L\
SISTER OF THE ROAD
Develop Mighty Muscles
by LOREN CARROLL
n To Write Good SOCIAL LETTERS
Lowell Thomas—recounts a
Pageant of Adventure
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ON PAGE 54
Volume 3 + CONTENTS FOR JULY, 1943 -ft Number S
COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
DOMINION.By Arthur J. Burks 10
Trapped in a fantastic jungle city. XJ. S. Agents Leyson and Horton looked on, helpless,
while a conqueror's terrible plans unfolded. And Von Glauber proclaimed: "Behold
the New People, created and built to rule and have dominion over all the Earth, for
the glory of the Reich!"
THRILLING SHORT STORIES
INFILTRATION . By Clifford D. Simak 43
Everyone thought that the "Monsters From Mars" were just clever fakes—until the
eerie creatures broke loose!
BLACKOUT . By Damon Knight 55
There's no telling what you may see, it Charles Fort's theories are right!
PROBLEM IN ETHICS.By Henry Kuttner 58
The whole thought of violence was so foreign to the people of the twenty-first century
that it looked as it Mazeith, with its gangster tactics, would crush all competition with
ease. But fire can be fought with fire...
THE MAN WHO SAVED NEW YORK.By Ray Cummings 69
You won't believe it. but the reason why this war hasn't been won as yet is because
a starry-eyed girl named Lisbeth gummed up the works/
THE STELLAR VAMPIRES.By Frank Belknap Long 79
Strange was the doom that came to the stranded men on barren Mars—but stranger
still was the message they sent out into space: "We walk alone!"
THE MACHINE THAT CHANGED HISTORY. By Robert Bloch 83
Adolf Hitler was jubilant; he saw how he could win the world with this time ma¬
chine; he'd kidnap the great Napoleon, and the two would work out a master strat¬
egy. But Bonaparte had other ideas -
THE ANSWER OUT OF SPACE.By Graph Waldeyer 97
John Smith was different—but only the stranger from space knew the full answer!
Cover by Milton Luros, symbolizing the threat of metal men, in Arthur J. Burks' novel,
"Dominion." Illustrations by Bok, Fax, Finlay & Shumaker.
| ROBERT W. LOWNDES, Editor
SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, published Quarterly January, April, July, and October by COLUMBIA
PUULICATIONS^INC.^ Appleton Streetjaolyolre^MasA 0 uine <> Aetlonerou^Bo'^Sdso^'streefuJf^
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A Great Science Fiction Novel
By Arthur J. Burks
Deep in the heart of South America's jungles, US Agents Leyson
and Horton found the source of the fantastic rumours which had
been alarming government officials. And the facts they found
were stranger than the wildest stories they had heard, for here
were a race of metal men, the New People. And here, behind the
scenes, was Von Glauber, sworn follower of the swastika, making
a madman's dream come true. For the metal giants had been
made to rise and conquer, and have dominion over all the worldl
OLY MOTHER!” said
Roger Horton, coining
to a halt and spread¬
ing his legs wide apart to keep from
going down. “Take a look at that,
Jack Leyson looked in his turn,
and in spite of the terrific heat of the
jungle, went icy cold. Whatever
he had expected to find up here, it
certainly hadn’t been something out
of a madman’s nightmare. Night¬
marish creatures of fang and claw,
yes—but nothing like this. He could
hear the chattering of Roger Hor¬
ton’s teeth, and it wasn’t, this time,
because of the fever that had gripped
them both for the past three weeks,
"This bullet." came the
cold metallic voice ot the
robot leader, "will take
the heel off your right
boot." The rifle barked,
and Leyson's right boot-
heel flew off, almost mak¬
ing him lose his grasp on
the ledge. Above, in the
cave mouth, Horton
crouched, watching grim¬
12 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
since they had lost all their duffel
—since their carriers had vanished
like wraiths, and they had been
forced to live off the country.
Both agents stared at the appari¬
tion. It looked as though it might
have come out of a clothing store
window on Fifth Avenue. It was a
white man, but one who seemed to
wear a mask over his face, so empty
of emotion was it. The silent one
was dressed in skin-tight clothing,
wore queer, square-toed shoes, and a
hat that looked like a fireman’s hel¬
met with the brim cut off almost all
the way around.
He was perhaps six feet tall and
his eyes had an eerie shine to them,
in the shadows of the teeming forest.
He carried no weapons. He merely
stood and confronted the two agents.
But an aura of menace seemed to
flow out of him; Jack Leyson could
feel it, like nothing he had ever ex¬
perienced in all his contact with
strange peoples. Roger Horton was
plainly frightened. He wouldn’t
have been, had the stranger been
armed and openly antagonistic. It
was the man’s silence that grated
most. Jack Leyson was on the point
of asking the stranger what the devil
it was all about, when Roger Horton
lost control of himself.
Leyson heard the safety catch click
on Horton’s automatic, but before the
fact could register, Horton had
leveled his weapon. The forest
roared with the sounds of the ex¬
plosions, three of them in quick suc¬
cession. Leyson, staring in horror
at the pasty-faced apparition, dis¬
tinctly heard the bullets strike, and
the sound of their striking added to
the creeping terror in his heart. The
man did not go down, did not even
seem to feel the bullets. Roger Hor¬
ton was a dead shot; moreover. Ley-
son had heard those bullets smash
into the stranger.
Now, after a moment’s hesitation,
during which Leyson had heard the
automatic drop from the nerveless
hand of Horton, the stranger spoke.
There was a peculiar, guttural qual¬
ity in his voice.
“You are my prisoners, gentlemen.
You will offer no resistance. You
will follow me!”
What sort of a man was this, any¬
way? Leyson asked himself. No soon¬
er had he spoken than he turned, pre¬
senting his back squarely to the two
half-dead U. S. government agents,
and started off through the forest.
“He doesn’t even disarm us!” said
Roger Horton, through chattering
teeth. “Jack, what on earth is this,
“I don’t know, Rog, but we haven’t
“You are quite right, gentlemen,”
replied the stranger, without turn¬
ing his head. “You have no choice.
Rather, you have the choice you have
had all along: finding a place where
you can rest, unmolested, or dying
in the jungle. You must know that
you can’t last much longer.”
“Wait a minute!” said Leyson
hoarsely. “What if we don’t choose
to be your prisoners?”
“Then you can die. You are hope¬
“What if we decide to fight it out
“Hopeless, gentlemen, I assure
you. I can kill you both with my
hands. Your rifles and automatics
are useless against me.”
“ But who are you? What are
“One of the New People,” said the
stranger. “Call me Zehn, if you must
have a name. And by the way,” the
stranger had turned when Leyson
called to him, “what are your names?
You will save time if you tell me.”
“My name,” said Horton, “is Rog¬
er Horton. My partner is John
“I thought as much,” said Zehn.
“Then you are the two gentlemen
who have been expected! Follow
me. It is not too far.”
PJS^HE people who have been ex-
JSL pected! That glacial chill still
possessed the fever-wracked body of
Jack Leyson. He could still hear
the chattering of Roger Horton’s
teeth. How could the two of them
possibly be expected by anyone? For
all the world knew they were merely
a couple of explorers, engaged in
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 13
that perennial will-n’-the-wisn hunt
which had engaged the curiosity of
so many explorers: the finding of
Colonel Fawcett, or information as
to how he had died. That was their
publicly avowed purpose.
In reality-they had come into the
jungles to discover whether certain
whispers of secret bases, far inland,
were true. Neither had believed it,
but they had started to carry out
their duty. And had had hard luck
from the start.
Darts from the blow-tubes of un¬
seen marauders had killed two of
their carriers, three w$eks before.
Three others had wandered into the
jungles, hunting agouti for food;
they had never returned. The boats
had been lost in the rapids of a name¬
Finally, the remaining carriers re¬
fused to go further, fearing canni¬
balistic Indians who were supposed
to abound in these parts. The terri¬
fied carriers had simply run away.
With only their guns left the two
had doggedly set out to go through
with their work, planning to live off
the country, even though they knew
next to nothing about it. And now,
“Notice how he spoke English?”
asked Roger Horton. “Guttural!”
“And you must have missed him
with all three shots!” said Leyson.
“No! No, I didn’t. I hit him
squarely in the chest. Didn’t even
stagger him. And his eyes, Jack!
Did you notice what they looked
“Yes, like the eyes of a bush-
master, only larger. They glowed,
just like the eyes of a cat in the
“But who and what is he? I never
heard of any white people in here.
He carries no weapons....”
“I think,” said Leyson softly,
“that the New People, whatever they
are, don’t need weapons. Rog, we’ve
bumped into something that will
make people’s hair stand on end.”
“Mine already feels like it. .What
do we do?”
“Take things as they come, until
we find out what the answer is—and
hope we get it before dark. If we
don’t, I’m going to be a gibbering
idiot before morning. Watch Zehn
take the jungles!”
“Zehn?” said Horton. “Zehn?
Zehn is German for ten, Jack. Is
that a clue, or a coincidence?”
“Take things as they come, Rog,
keep your head and your nerve; we’ll
see what happens. But save your
slugs. The guy must wear armor
plate under his clothes. And what
The stranger ahead, who moved
through the liana-strangled aisles of
the forest like an Indian, finding a
way which no white man—though he
himself seemed to be white—could
possibly have seen, called back to
“Please be good enough not to
talk. It hurts!”
Now what the devil did the fellow
mean by that? Horton started to
ask, but Zehn seemed to read his
thought, for he added,
“I meant it, definitely! If you do
not remain silent I shall be forced
to silence you. Your lives are in
my hands; you should know it, if
you really have the intelligence your
government must have thought you
“And how,” whispered Lyson, “do
you like them potatoes?”
T HE two Americans had been well
chosen for their job. Both had
been agents for Uncle Sam for five
years, entrusted with dangerous and
important missions, all over the
world. Always together, they seldom
disagreed. They might have been
blood-brothers as well as brothers in
arms. Roger Horton was five feet
nine inches tall; he had a waistline
when he entered the jungles, a waist¬
line which had vanished so definitely
that his clothes hung on him like
gunny sacks. Jack Leyson was over
six feet in height, muscle and steel
and endurance—three words which
applied also to Roger Horton.
But fever, bad water, insect bites,
sleeplessness, had knocked most of
the endurance out of them. Three
days ago they had agreed that they
couldn’t last forty-eight hours long¬
er. That they had so far lasted
14 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
seventy-two hours both regarded as
a kind of miracle.
“Watch Zehn!” said Leyson, not
with words, but by clutching Hor¬
ton’s arm, pinching it, pointing.
Leyson himself could scarcely take
his eyes off the mysterious Mr. Zehn.
That worthy moved easily through
the woods, never for a second being
at loss for the proper direction to—
wherever he was taking them. He
did not use his hands to ward off
branches. Smaller ones slapped
against his face, to his complete un¬
concern. Larger ones he avoided by
ducking his head, just enough to
escape them. He never seemed to
look down at his feet, as every travel¬
er in the Amazon watershed must, if
he is to escape dying by snake-bite.
Insects, both men noticed, disre¬
garded the stranger, though they still
attacked Leyson and Horton with
ferocity. Both men had long ago
given up trying to battle mosquites,
chiggers, mosquito-worms. It was a
hopeless fight against impossible
“I never before,” whispered Hor¬
ton, “saw a man immune to the crit¬
“Horton!” said the guttural voice.
“If you speak again, even to whisper,
I shall kill you! Do you understand?
I tell you, it hurts!’’
Horton exchanged glances with
Leyson. What did the fellow mean?
How could words hurt, especially
whispers? Did he mean that he was
afraid they were plotting against
him, to overpower him? No, they
knew he didn’t mean that....
The sun was dropping swiftly
down the western sky, and the way
led sharply upward, as it had led for
the last tWo weeks. There had been
times when Horton and Leyson had
to scale cliffs. But not now, not
with this stranger leading them.
There seemed always to be a way up.
A ravine here, a crevasse there. The
stranger seemed to knew every foot
of the ground. Whither was he lead¬
ing them? The jungle itself seemed
to be awaiting the answer to that.
Horton suddenly put his hand on
Leyson’s arm. But Leyson had seen
it at the same time. The deadly
sirucucu, fastest striking, most dead¬
ly of jungle reptiles. Raised half
its length, it was set to strike at Mr.
Zehn. Even as the two agents spotted
the ghastly creature—which was all
of ten feet long—it struck. They
hadn’t even a chance to call out a
The bullet head hit. It slanted
off. The reptile fell to the ground,
Mr. Zehn calmly strode on, ignor¬
ing the most lethal reptile in the
whole South American jungles!
Moreover, Leyson and Horton saw
the reptile do something they had
never heard of it doing before; it
wriggled off into the jungle without
renewing the attack. They breathed
a sigh of relief, because they would
have to pass the spot where it had
fallen, to keep on the heels of Mr.
Zehn. And from the mouth of Mr.
Zehn came a sound that set the
hackles of both men raising, a grim,
satanic chuckle, like no chuckle they
had ever heard before! Mr Zehn
marched straight on. A minute
passed. Mr. Zehn spoke,
“If that snake had struck one of
you gentlemen, you would have an¬
other minute of life left, wouldn’t
you? Oh, don’t answer, please. I
still am hurt more by talk than by
snake venom, far more! If you are
expecting me to start looking at the
palms of my hands, for blood and
pus, the usual result of such a bite,
you’re doomed to disappointment. I
shall suffer no ill effects whatever!”
“The devil!” thought Leyson. “The
man simply is not human!”
“Correct, Mr. Leyson,” said Mr.
Zehn. “I am not human, literally,
not human. You should have dis¬
covered that, long ago!”
A GAIN the two explorers ex¬
changed glances. As the shad¬
ows deepened in the forest a strange,
eerie radiance seemed to grow about
the body of Mr. Zehn. He appeared
to have a sort of inner light of his
own. Even this early, before dusk,
Leyson had the fearful suspicion that
he could follow Mr. Zehn in the
dark, by Mr. Zehn’s own light. There
was sheer horror in the implications
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 15
of all this that might have unseated
the reason of a man new to the
jungles—even Leyson himself, had
he encountered him three weeks be¬
fore. But in three weeks he had
seen too much, experienced too much.
Nothing now could do aught to his
Horton was reeling all over the
place. Leyson, himself almost too
weak to stand, to say nothing of
walking, tried to keep Horton from
going down. The result was that
both men went down, and Mr. Zehn
stopped, turned back, said,
“Walk back three paces, Leyson.
I’ll take care of your friend!”
Leyson, puzzled, got to his feet,
did as he had been bidden, as there
seemed to be no threat in the words
of Mr. Zehn. Zehn came back, looked
down at Horton, stooped, gathered
him swiftly up in his arms, flung him
over his shoulders....
A scream of horror burst from the
lips of Roger Horton. That scream
seemed to startle Zehn for the first
time. He jumped, trembled and
shook for a moment like a man with
the ague. His arm—he used but one,
the right, to hold Horton in posi¬
tion-closed so tightly on Horton
that Leyson could almost hear his
partner’s ribs crack.
“Don’t hurt him, you!” said Ley-
son. “Or I’ll_”
“You’ll do nothing, Leyson,” said
the stranger, “if you don’t want me
to squeeze your friend completely in
Leyson started forward. Zehn
stopped, started turning. Blast it,
did the man have eyes in the back of
his head? Leyson stared at Horton,
hanging limply there over Zehn’s
back—Zehn, who still showed no ef¬
fect whatever from the bite of the
Horton had lost consciousness.
And several wild thoughts raced
through the skull of Jack Leyson.
Not once, he remembered now, when
limbs had slapped against the face
and head of Zehn, had his strange
hat been disturbed. Bullets hadn’t
harmed him. Deadly snake venom
had no effect on him. He seemed
Hell, was Leyson crazy with fever?
he asked himself. Why hadn’t he
realized it before? He certainly
should have seen that the man real¬
ly wore no clothes at all; they were
painted on! A sort of gruesome joke
on the part of someone, plainly.
Moreover, Zehn himself had said
- “I am literally not human!” Had
referred to himself as “one of the
1&/IR. ZEHN, Mr. Ten, was a me-
JLyjH chanical man! A life-size,
nightmarish Charlie McCarthy who
was as good a woodsman as an In¬
But how could any mechanical man
do what Mr. Zehn had been doing
for hours? And whence came the
words that had come out of his me¬
tallic mouth? And why was this
mechanical man, so perfectly made
that he had fooled Leyson up until
now, and Horton until Horton had
felt his hands, been thrown over his
shoulder, here in the woods at all?
How many more of “Mister Ten”
were there? Nine, Leyson guessed,
obviously. But how many more than
ten? Leyson’s mind went numb with
the shock of the dreadful discovery,
all that it did not imply. But he
stumbled on after Zehn and Horton,
until just after dusk and....yes, it
was easy to follow the luminous Mr.
Right up to the hoary-with-age
city of stone, against the sheer wall
of a cliff of black basalt. A tum¬
bled mass of a city out of past be¬
yond the records of man. Great
blocks of stone, piled one upon an¬
other to form temples, and dwellings.
Streets. Jumbled terrain below the
cliff, made nightmarish by the mas¬
sive rocks upon the hummocks. A
place of shadows, of vague menace,
of growing fear.
And of many people like Mr. Zehn,
moving hither and yon upon hor¬
ribly mysterious business. It was
little wonder, when he caught sight
of this city of the dead, occupied
by New People who would never
live, that Leyson’s body reeled, as
his mind had all but been reeling
1& ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
since he had discovered some of the
impossible truth about Mr. Zehn.
Mr. Zehn, stepping out of the
jungles, set Horton upon his feet. Ha
held him up with his left hand,
grasped his chin with his right,
shook it roughly from side to side.
Horton snapped out of it, finally,
opened his eyes to look into those
of Mr. Zehn. His mouth opened on
a shriek of terror.
“No, please, Horton,” said Mr.
Zehn. “I’ve already told you, it
hurts! You gentlemen will take up
your abode in whatever building
suits you. I shall send food to you
shortly. Food! How poorly organ¬
ized, these who have need of it!”
WW T’S LIKE being on another
Sj planet,” said Roger Hor-
JHL ton, as the two men, wait¬
ing for something to eat, stood in
the door of the stone building they
had chosen for the time being. “An
ancient city, going back forever, as
far as we know....”
“Inhabited by people so modern,”
said Leyson grimly, “that they’re
decades ahead of their time.”
“With armies mechanized,” said
Roger Horton, “I’m not so sure. Jack,
just what do you think we’re in for?”
“Certainly nothing our superiors
in Washington could have guessed,”
said Jack grimly. “Just have a look
out there, will you!”
Now that the sun had set, a pale
yellowish moon rode high over a
landscape that may well, as Horton
had said, have been on another
planet. A city of jumbled rocks
buildings, all that remained of a for¬
gotten civilization. The foothills of
a continent’s backbone, where moun¬
tains and jungles embraced; where
one could look away to the sky and
see the mountains still climbing,
could look away below to a vast
forest that was black by night and
green by day. But that was not all
that thrilled the two agents who had
come into this land to make it safe
for its own people, free from the
slavery which had been visited upon
most of Europe.
It was the figures which moved
through the city. Luminous, vaguely
human figures. -Figures which
seemed to reflect the lemonish light
of the moon itself, except for their
eyes. The eyes of all of them were
“Like dimmers on ambulances,”
said Leyson huskily. “And they
spray red light!”
“And what are they doing?” said
Horton. “They seem to go into the
jungles and come out again, aimless¬
ly. There seems to be no reason for
“They’re mechanical men, Rog,”
said Leyson, “and somewhere there
must be real men, of strange mental
attainments, who control them.
Those red eyes are the lenses of
cameras. By some means of remote
control, the human masters of these
Mister Zehns can see with the ruby
eyes of their metal slaves; and by
exercise of the same control can
cause those monsters to walk as
easily and surely around obstacles
as they can themselves! Remember
how Mr. Zehn walked? He threaded
his way through the jungles like an
Indian. They are wireless men, too,
Rog. Their masters see through their
eyes; talk through their metal
mouths. When Mr. Zehn talked to
us, the words we heard were actually
those of his pilot for the moment,
who, many miles away, could see us
through Zehn’s eyes, hear what we
said, and talk to us—with perfect
safety for himself!”
“And when Zehn said that speech
“Something about our vocal vibra¬
tion, certainly,” said Leyson. “God,
Rog, just look at that, out there!”
Black monoliths of stone, the hid¬
den city. With mechanical men, like
overgrown fireflies, threading their
ways in and out through the pre¬
historic streets, into the forest and
out again, on missions the two flesh
and blood men could not even guess
at. And the picture was always
changing because the Zehns were on
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 17
the move. Now one portion of the
city would be strangely lighted, now
dreadfully dark. The robots were
their own lanterns.
“They’re making photographic
maps of the area, Rog,” said Leyson.
“Whoever rules the mechanical
“And what do you suppose they’re
going to do with us?”
“Something, certainly, or they
wouldn’t have kept us alive. And
right at this moment nobody is
watching us, or listening to us, so
it’s a time for making plans. We’ve
got to find the central control plan
of this unbelievable place!”
“Shhhh!” said Roger Horton.
“Someone’s coming!” Horton
chuckled when he had spoken. An
odd way to speak of mechanical men.
And yet, in all things save souls
and brains, the mechanical men were
like other men, and far more efficient.
They did not need food, rest, water,
or protection against the dangers of
the jungles. They had no slightest
conception of fear. Perfect soldiers
of the unknown forests!
M R. ZEHN came through the
door, his arms filled with
Both men stared at him. Their
faces were eerie in the light that
came in with . Mr. Zehn. The pale
lemonish glow of him filled the room
in which the two agents were resting.
“Well, Zehn,” said Leyson, “I
thought you were never going to
keep your promise about food! We’re
starving. And if we had some medi¬
cine. .. .you see, we’re both half nuts,
“I am not Zehn,” said the slow,
measured voice of the newcomer, a
voice that was plainly different from
that of Zehn. “I am Einundswanzig!
Here is food. There is no need of
medicines. I shall treat you! I
might even call myself Doctor Ein¬
“No doubt now, I guess,” muttered
Horton. “German as sauerkraut.
Twenty One! That’s this fellow’s
name. Look at the canned stuff.
Jack! The paper wrapping’s all re¬
“Maybe it’s our own food, that we
had to leave behind,” said Leyson.
“Nothing would surprise me. Got
matches, Doc? And a can-opener?
And we could do with some fresh
“Soup, for tonight,” said the new¬
comer, “if I am to treat you both.
There will be bedclothing presently,
and a fire built on the ancient stone
hearth yonder. Meantime, Mr. Hor¬
ton, give me your hands.”
Horton gasped, looked a question
at Leyson, who shrugged. Horton
faced the “Doctor,” held out both
hands. The mechanical hands of the
Doctor reached forth, grasped the
hands of Horton.
“Do not be frightened,” said the
Doctor. “The pain will be short and
No sooner had he spoken than
Horton became mute, writhing in
agony, while the doctor talked calm¬
ly with Leyson.
“Nothing is more efficacious
against fever than greater heat. We
use one heat to burn out another. In
a matter of moments, your friend
will be free of the fever. Weak,
however. This electrolytic treatment
will destroy the malaria germs in his
The whole room seemed to be
filled with electricity. For just
a moment Leyson wondered if Hor¬
ton were being electrocuted. But he
found himself with a strange faith
in this Doctor. A faith at great
variance with his certain knowledge
that there was no mercy, no sym¬
pathy, no humanity in the thing. It
was the voice that soothed him.
Now, suddenly, Horton was re¬
leased. His body was bathed in
sweat. Wonderingly, panting, he
turned to look at Leyson. His eyes
were clear for the first time in
“I’m weak as a kitten. Jack,” he
said, “but I haven’t felt better in
Leyson, without a word, stepped
into the strange embrace of Doctor
Einundswanzig. The room was
blotted out as the electricity hit
18 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
him. He felt himself rising on his
toes. He felt himself held in a grip
stronger than any he had ever ex¬
perienced in his life before. He felt
the surge and flow of force through
him. He felt his breathing cut off.
He felt he could stand it no longer.
It was beyond endurance; but even
as the thought flashed through
his mind, he was released, and knew
in the instant that he was finished
with malaria. The “Doctor” stood
for a moment, looking from one to
“You may each drink two cans of
hot soup,” he said. “No more, or
you will be nauseated. This treat¬
ment is severe.”
Now two more “men” came into
the place, bearing blankets, plenty
of them. They scarcely looked at
Horton and Leyson, and the two
agents scarcely noticed the newcom¬
ers. Their beds were swiftly made
up for them. Then one of the “men”
brought in wood and twigs, and a
fire was soon going, a pot placed on
the fire, four cans of soup set to
bubbling. Then the two men left,
and Leyson suddenly exclaimed,
“They didn’t say a word! I just
remember. They weren’t luminous!
Didn’t have ruby eyes! They wore
colored goggles, that’s all! Rog,
those last two were men!”
L EYSON raced to the door,
looked out. An eerie chuckle
came from the “Doctor,” who said,
“They have no light, either. They
were lost to your sight when they
stepped outside. No use trying to
follow them. Yes, they were men.
Their visit was timed exactly, to the
moment when you would be more
concerned with yourselves and me,
than with anything else. We are a
very efficient people!”
“Why,” said Leyson," does our
speech hurt Mr. Zehn, and not hurt
you at all?”
The “Doctor” chuckled again, said,
“My vibration is different from
its! No two of us have the same
vibration. It just happened that the
combination of your two voices hurt
Zehn. It might never happen again,
to any of us.”
“Talking to you,” said Leyson,
peering into the pot, sniffing the
soup, “is like talking over the tele¬
phone. I wish you’d tell me to whom
we’re indebted for this treatment,
and when we can say thanks, face to
Again the “Doctor” chuckled.
“The time will come when you,
and the world, will see much more
of me than is bargained for! That
applies particularly to you two gen¬
tlemen. You will return to that
world, eventually, to prepare it for
our coming. It is well that our
enemies be warned, and properly
Leyson and Horton looked at each
other. Leyson shivered, gathering a
frightful import from the words of
the “Doctor,” which he knew came
to him from some distant place—
from some place which might be ten
feet away, ten miles, or a hundred
miles, or even further. He could
not see that place. All the clue he
had was a voice. He and Horton
were at a great disadvantage. They
could be watched and listened to, so
long as one of the mechanical men
was in sight of them.
The bubbling of the soup answered
a current, and drastic need. They
dipped it up in the cans which had
originally held it, juggled the hot
containers in their torn and
scratched fingers, drank down the
soup. The Doctor watched them.
His yellow glow continued to fill the
place which was, in effect, their pris¬
on. Now and again he looked about
the room, spraying it with light.
The two men finished their soup.
Leyson spread the fire, so that the
smoke would do them no harm, spoke
“Let’s get some sleep. I feel I
could sleep for a week.”
“You will sleep ten hours, and find
it sufficient,” said the Doctor. “There
is no more time than that. Time is
valuable to us. Good night, gentle¬
Leyson and Horton stripped down
to their underwear after the le-
chanical doctor had gone, and
crawled beneath the blankets. Their
first beds in weeks, and both m<*n
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 19
felt that they were safe, at least from
the usual hazards of the jungles. In
an instant Horton was snoring, but
Leyson did not immediately drop
off. As the leader of this strange
expedition, he could not pamper him¬
self to that extent, just yet. He
must try to figure out answers. What
were the mechanical men being used
for? There was no escape from
them, for they could travel through
the jungles without food, water or
rest. Were they being used to sub¬
jugate the natives? There were In¬
dians of many tribes, scattered
through these jungles. There were
bush negroes. That mechanical
L EYSON sat bolt upright. “That’s
one of the things,” he told him¬
self, almost aloud. “Those mechan¬
ical men....why, Indians and bush
negroes would fall down and wor¬
ship them, when their arrows and
darts had no effect on them. And
the masters of the mechanical men
certainly have electrolytic cures for
everything that makes Indians and
Negroes sick. A half dozen Doctor
Einundswanzigs, working among the
natives, could weld them together,
happy because healthy, into a formid¬
able group of fighters! Then, after
curing them of their hills, those
doctors could induce them to listen
to their human masters. Those hu¬
man masters could teach them how
to use rifles, pistols, machine-guns
Leyson’s thoughts were inter¬
rupted at this point by 'the strang¬
est apparition of all. A white, ghost¬
ly creature came, in utter silence,
through the door. It poised, listen¬
ing, and Leyson knew that he was
looking at a young woman. White,
too. He guessed that her hair was
golden, that she was around twenty
years of age. Her clothing looked
to be scanty. He could make out
bare legs, and he thought her feet
were bare, too, though he could not
be sure. And he guessed that there
was nothing mechanical about her.
“Hello, sister,” he said softly.
A gasp of terror burst from the
girl. He did not see her turn and
run, so swiftly did it happen. One
moment she was poised, there in the
darkness, and the next moment she
was gone—and a strange desolation
possessed Jack Leyson. He was on
his feet, standing in the door, in a
second, but in no direction could he
see her. Only the lost city was still
alive, if being a-crawl with mechan¬
ical men could be said to be alive.
No sight of the girl, anywhere. What
was she? Friend or enemy? If
enemy, why had she been sent? To
slay? But the enemy had had plenty
of chances to slay, and had not taken
them; had even cured the two men
of malaria. What, then?
No use pursuing her. Leyson went
back to his bed. And sleep appeared
to have fled from him. He lay there,
looking at the door, a dim rectangle
of light. Now and again that rec¬
tangle of light brightened, became
yellowish, and he could hear the
measured footfalls of one of the me¬
chanical men, passing the place.
They were being watched, no doubt
about that. Had that been the rea¬
son why the girl had run?
No telling. She was simply one
of the mysteries of the place.
And then, when he had given up,
and sleep seemed close, there she was
again, standing in the door, looking
at him as though she could see him
in the dark. And her forefinger was
plainly against her lips, for silence.
Leyson’s heart hammered with ex¬
citement. She would certainly not
be so secretive if she were one of
Leyson sat up. The girl, glancing
both ways, outside the door, came to
Leyson, hesitantly, yet proudly. She
held out her hand in the dark, as
though groping. Leyson touched it,
to let her know that he knew she
was there. She dropped to her knees
near him, but with her head turned
aside in an attitude of listening. She
began to speak, in a language that
Leyson could not understand, yet
which had a distinct sound of famil¬
iarity about it. He realized then
that it was English, but a strange
kind of English—as though the girl
had not used the tongue all her life.
20 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“You are not friend of New Peo¬
ple?” Leyson managed to deduce
from her gibberish.
“No. They are enemies of my
country and my people,” said Ley-
son. “Who are you? Where do you
“Enemies of my people, too,” said
the girl, painstakingly following the
order of his own words. “I am
Shama. I come from the forest, where
my people live.
“But you are white. The forest
people are red, or black.”
“No matter, my people. No chance
to explain now. But you must get
away. Must destroy these New Peo¬
ple. They destroy my people, your
people, all people. They destroy me
if I am caught here—or anywhere,
because I am against them.”
I T took a long time for him to
piece her words together, make
sense of them, interpret them for
himself. The girl, Shama, was fright¬
ened, but she was brave, too. She
was as much a mystery to him as
was the city of the dead, and the
New People, and their masters.
“What is the name of this place,
Shama?” he asked.
“Place of the gods,” said Shama.
“Where all gold is. And stones that
shine. And evil things are im¬
“Do you know where the people
are, like you and me, who are mas¬
ters of the New People?”
“No, but I can find them. I know
■ the jungle. I am almost born in it.”
“It is very dangerous. I should
go with you. Hey, wait!”
But she had risen as he talked, and
was gone, like a shadow, leaving be¬
hind her the wholesome odor of
jungle flowers, of health, and cour¬
age. Scarcely had she vanished than
a mechanical man came to the door,
entered, looked all about. Leyson
snored comfortably. The crimson
rays from the robot’s eyes rested for
a full minute on the face of Leyson.
Muttering, mumbling, Leyson
brushed his hand over his face, swore
softly. The robot went out. Leyson
waited for Shama to return.
She did not come back. He would
never sleep, he decided, until he
knew more about her. But he was
quite mistaken. For from pretend¬
ing to sleep, he fell into a deep sleep,
which lasted until dawn came
through the door, and with it two
mechanical men with fr^sh meat for
The two agents, feeling ravenous¬
ly hungry, stared at the two who
brought the food. But they had to
accept disappointment. Both new¬
comers were mechanical jnen. Just
once had their masters sent living
men to them, perhaps because they
had not entirely trusted what they
had seen through the eyes of their
robots, heard through their metal
ears. Now there would be only the
And, perhaps, Shama.
Might as well start the ball rolling.
Lyson said, to whichever one of -the
robots cared to answer.
“We’re okay now. How soon can
we get out of this place?”
“You are not leaving,” said one of
“We are, as soon as we can get
“Try to escape,” said one of the
robots, “and you will be killed out
of hand. We have a use for you, as
we have a use for others. Try to
thwart us and die, as they will die
-in the same case! And don’t become
too curious about your surroundings.
Men sometimes discover too much!
To know too much will mean death,
as certainly as an attempt to escape
will mean death!”
Grimly Ldyson stooped, caught up
a rock the size of a baseball. With
all his might he hurled it straight at
the head of the nearest robot. The
robot dodged. The rock crashed
against the wall beyond. The robot
chuckled, as though immensely
amused! The two robots then went
out and away, and Horton and Ley-
son, very silently, went about pre¬
paring their breakfast.
“We’re certainly caught in a nice
trap,” said Leyson, when they had
eaten their fill, and were sitting on
their blankets to wait for whatever
might come next.
“Yeah,” said Horton.
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 21
“And I don’t intend to sit and take
it, see? I’m going out and have a
look around. I want to know what
“I’ve no yen to fight tanks with
my bare hands,” said Horton, “but
if you gb, what choice have I?”
They strolled out into the now-
blazing sun, to find the dead city
a-crawl with robots. But the instant
they stepped out, every robot in
sight went motionless. Some of them
stood, like statues. Some leaned
against rocks. Some even sat. But
not one of them moved. The sud¬
den silence was more horrible than
the nightmares of night.
“Mechanical men,” said Leyson,
“don’t have corpses!”
Cats and Mice
J ACK LEYSON had had
enough of the mystery. He
felt well enough to make a
break for it, or to begin trying to
find out things. Besides, somewhere,
there was Shama; he had felt in her
voice an appeal for help, for her¬
self and for her people.
This new trick, of all the robots
going motionless, was irritating be¬
There must be something 1 can dis¬
cover about them, if they keep in
motion, Leyson thought. By watch¬
ing them, I could estimate the di¬
rection, even the distance, to the
Leyson looked at Horton, not dar¬
ing to say anything, knowing that al¬
though the robots were inert, every
robot eye connected with the com¬
munication center he could visual¬
ize; in that communication center
someone human could see whatever
the robot could see, hear whatever
anyone said within earshot of any
robot, And he had a sneaking sus¬
picion that the robots were such
sensitive receiving sets that they
could also pick up their thoughts.
Mr. Zehn had all but proved this
very thing, yesterday.
Horton shrugged, but Leyson knew
that whatever he did, Horton would
second to the best of his ability. He
always did. And both men felt re¬
freshed and strong. They had weap¬
ons, though. That would be a serious
handicap if they successfully eluded
They wandered easily through the
ancient city, while the robots main¬
tained silence and immobility—a
thing that gradually strained the two
men’s nerves until they seemed to
twang like bowstrings.
To all appearances, there wasn’t a
chance of escape. And Leyson had
no wish to become a guinea pig for
the potential enemies of his country.
That, it seemed to him, was what
they were being slated for.
Passing through the principal sec¬
tion of the dead city, they gradual¬
ly approached the cliff behind it—a
cliff honeycombed with cave mouths;
at one time in the world’s history,
perhaps, it had been the homes of
ancestors of the people who had
built this city.
As Leyson moved toward the cliff,
with Horton close on his heels, he
fully expected the robots to start
moving at any moment. That any
one of them could tear him limb from
limb, he knew very well. They were
the most devilish potential instru¬
ments of destruction he had ever
encountered. In the hands of enemies
of society they could work such
havoc as the world had never seen
before. And they already held com¬
plete dominion, he was sure, over
the section of the jungle they had
been set to roam. How many of them
were they? That each was as strong
as many men he already knew. If
there were large numbers of them...
On a sudden hunch he paused in
front of one of the robots which
leaned against a rock wall.
“Wie heist du?” he demanded.
“How are you called?”
“My name is Sechs hundert sieben
zehn,” said the robot, calmly.
Six hundred and seventeen! How
many more were there than six hun¬
dred and seventeen, when a dozen
could have held this part of the
Amazon Valley in their metal hands?
No way of telling. He could have
22 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
asked, and he probably would have
been told. But he dreaded to know.
It was enough to realize that one of
the most powerful military machines
the Western Hemisphere could ever
know, had already been forged here
in the lost land of jungles and moun¬
The two men walked calmly to¬
ward the almost sheer rise of the
cliff, while Leyson’s eyes played
over it, studying it for hand-and-
“All right, pal,” he said softly to
Horton, “here we go!”
H E suddenly broke into a run. In¬
stantly the robots nearest ex¬
ploded into action. They began clos¬
ing in on the two Americans. But
Leyson, with Horton on his heels,
had reached the cliff and started
climbing. Could the robots climb?
He had a fearful suspicion that they
could do a better job of it than any
man, but to be used any further in
this cat and mouse game... .well, he
simply couldn’t do it.
A dozen robots were against the
face of the cliff, reaching up for
Leyson and Horton, but not quite
“Make for the first cave mouth,
Rog,” said Leyson. “We’ll get a
breathing space there while we de¬
cide what to do next. Right now it
looks as if we’d jumped from the
frying pan into the fire.”
“But anyway,” panted Horton,
“vje’ve jumped. We’ve made a
From far below them, back in the
heart of the city, came a hail.
“Stop, Leyson! Come back, or I’ll
put a bullet in you!”
Leysen and Horton, spreadeagled
there on the black face of the cliff,
paused to look back. Standing in
front of the building in which they
had spent the night, was one of the
robots, with a rifle in his hands—
one of their rifles. Horton laughed.
There was hysteria in his laughter.
“Climb, Rog, as you value your
life!” gasped Leyson.
“Do you think a robot can fire a
rifle?” said Horton.
“As accurately as if the rifle were
in a vise, Rog,” said Leyson. “If we
don’t reach cover, we’re dead ducks.
I doubt if he’ll drill us with the first
shot, though. They want us kept
alive—the masters of the metal men,
He had scarcely finished when the
rifle spoke. But even before it spoke
a leaden pellet smashed against the
rocks near Leyson’s right hand. He
stared for an instant at the spot,
as the hot smell of emery powder
burned his nostrils; that smell which
always comes when a bullet hits
rock. The bullet had struck the rock
between his thumb and forefinger—
and that it was accidental he knew
to be impossible. No vise could have
held as steadily, at that distance. Nor
could the human eye have gauged
such a shot, uphill, making the prop¬
er allowance for mirage and the other
elements which went into marksman¬
“He could shoot the lobes off our
ears,” said Leyson. “Scram as you
never scrammed before!”
“The next one,” came the bellowed
voice of the robot, “will take off the
left heel of your boot!”
Still Leyson did not pause. Again
the rifle spoke. Leyson’s left foot
jumped, almost causing him to lose
his grip on the face of the cliff.
Wildly he looked down. The ground
was now two hundred feet below, at
least. A fall would mean certain
But his hands were both over the
edge of a cave-mouth, and he was
pulling himself up. He got inside,
grabbed Horton by the wrists,
yanked him in.
Both men flung themselves flat as
the rifle barked again. The bullet
went through the space where Hor¬
ton’s body had been, and Leyson
knew something else: he was re¬
garded as the more important of the
two men, and the enemy would de¬
stroy Horton in order to compel Ley-
son to obey them.
But they were now out of range,
and back of them were the black
depths of the cave.
They began to crawfish backward.
Bullets probed for them. They were
expected, apparently, to rise into the
Dominion ★ ★ ~k 23
line of fire, but Leyson had no in¬
tention of doing anything of the
Finally, when sure that the angle
was too great for them to be in dan¬
ger, Leyson and Horton rose to their
feet, turned into the depths of the
cave, Leyson handicapped by his
heelless left boot. It was utterly
dark. No robot was in here; had
there been, the men would have seen
the glow of the metal bodies, or of
the ruby eyes.
^W E ’ LL look * or some way
ww into the cave next above
this,” said Leyson. “We’re free for
the moment, though I’m still not
satisfied that the robots can’t climb.
They’ll be after us in a minute, wait
“Let’s see,” said Horton, “but don’t
Leyson led the way, feeling his
way with his feet, not knowing when
they might step into an abyss. It was
like swimming in black velvet. They
could see nothing, and when they
paused they could hear nothing ex¬
cept the hammering of their own
Not so much as a glow of light.
And Leyson was acutely conscious of
the fact that anyone beyond them
could see their outlines against the
light of the cave mouth. They stum¬
bled and staggered over the ruins
of what they knew to be ancient
dwellings. They fell and barked
their knees and their shins. But
they went on.
And finally a voice said,
“Stop, please; you’re safe for a
“A dame!” said Horton, explosive¬
ly. “A dame, but I can’t see her.”
“Shama!” said Leyson.
“Yes.” Then a soft hand was in
Leyson’s hand, and Horton gasped,
so Leyson knew that Shama had also
taken the hand of his partner.
“Come with me. You should not
have done this, but I expected you
would. There is a way out, to the
jungle, built by the ancients, in case
they were besieged and cut from
food and water. I am the only one
who knows of it.”
“It sounds like English,” said
Horton, “but just what is it? What
did she say?”
“In brief, we’re jumping from the
fire back into the frying pan,” said
Leyson, “or else we’re jumping into
a bigger fire. This is Shama. She
made contact with me last night,
while you were snoring. That’s about
all I know about her, except that
she’s white, and terribly afraid of
what our metallic friends are doing
to her people. Let’s follow her lead;
we can’t be any worse off than we
are, and we’ll be giving our pals
something to think about.”
The girl turned to the right, a bit
further on, and a blast of cold air
bathed their faces. The way led
sharply downward. The girl moved
without hesitation, as if she could
see in the dark, or as if she had
traveled this way so many times she
did not need to see.
“Her hand feels nice,” said Horton.
“Is she pretty?”
“If she is,” said Leyson, “it’s no
concern of yours. I saw her first”
Shama laughed. Leyson swore
“Women are all the same, wherever
you find them,” he said.
“For which a fugitive gives
thanks!” said Horton. “Dames are
realistic. This one may be bent on
saving her people, but if at the same
time she can save a man she thinks
she likes, who’s to blame her?”
“Your friend talks too much,” said
Shama. “He should save his breath
for what we have to do.”
UNDERSTOOD every word
M of that!’’ said Horton. “Lis¬
All three halted at Horton’s sug¬
gestion. Behind them in the eerie
darkness could be heard the sounds
of hurried footfalls. The robots had
climbed up the face of the cliff, were
in swift pursuit. Looking back they
could see the lemonish glow of them.
“Hurry! Hurry!” said Shama. “My
people will protect me, fearful as
they are of these metal gods, and I
She broke off shortly there.
24 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
started running, dragging at the two
“Hurry,” she repeated. “If you
fall you can always get up again.
The way is smooth.”
“And our enemies,” Leyson
finished what she had been saying,
“will go easy with your people be¬
cause they need them!”
“I hope so!” said Shama, fervent¬
ly as though she prayed.
The sloping tunnel curved sharply
to the right, began to rise. And the
air was no longer cold, but steamy
hot, as from the jungles—and Ley-
son knew that they had passed a
tunnel which gave forth the cold
air, a tunnel that must have led to
cold water somewhere.
“Faster!” said Shama. “Faster, oh,
faster! We’ve got to get among my
people before the metal gods can see
me. So far I am not known to
Leyson’s heart sank. If the enemy
did not know of Shama, what would
they do when they found out? He
could imagine what horror it might
well be for her, if she fell into their
hands. Then the enemy could use
not only the superstitious reverence
of her people for the robots, but
their reverences for the white girl
herself. And men in uniform were
not usually very considerate of
young beautiful women. Not from
all Leyson had heard.
They turned to the left, and ahead
of them was a glare of light which
caused Leyson to cry out and halt.
But the girl urged him on. It .was
only the blistering sunlight on a
clearing in the jungle, looking un¬
usually bright because they had been
so long in Stygian darkness.
They broke forth into that clear¬
ing, and Shama stepped out faster,
while Leyson and Horton really saw
her for the first time. Yes, her hair
was long, and like spun gold against
the sun. Her legs were slim, and
moved with the grace and speed of a
ballet dancer. She was lovely. Ley-
son’s heart jumped into his throat as
he considered her.
“Faster!” said Shama. “Faster!
We’ve got to get into the shadows
before the metal gods see Shama!”
“Then you haven’t a minute left,”
said Leyson. “I can hear them com¬
ing up to the cave mouth.”
Shama cried out, pulled free of the
“Follow me, straight ahead. You’ll
meet some of my people. They will
not harm you! Pay them no atten¬
The girl was gone, like a wraith,
swift as the wind. Leyson and Hor¬
ton could not keep up with her. She
had vanished into the shadows of the
surrounding jungle. Leyson and
Horton had no time to mark the
place, to note what the entrance was
like. But it was untrodden, and Ley-
son guessed that it was tabu to the
natives, though few of them could
know why. A tabu that had been
handed down the generations, per¬
Leyson and Horton crashed into
the jungles, to find them alive with
moving figures. Indians! More In¬
dians than either of them had ever
seen. Small men, some of them with
pot-bellies, some of them with bones
through their ears and their noses.
All with black hair, no clothing. All
with blowguns and darts, or bows
and arrows. And on their faces such
expressions of fear as Leyson could
None of the Indians looked at
Leyson and Horton. They were look¬
ing back the way the two white men
had come. Leyson and Horton bulled
right through the sour-smelling
bodies of the redmen. Men knocked
aside seemed not even to feel the
blows. At any other time the Indians
would not only have been invisible,
but would have shot the two white
men for such indignities.
“Imagine,” said Leyson, “what we
could do with these people if we con¬
trolled the robots.”
“Yeah,” said Horton.
“And you can guess,” went on Ley-
son, “what those who do control them
are planning to do with the natives.
Look at those darts and arrows.
Their tips are black as tar. That
means every last one of them has
been dipped in those poison pots they
carry at their breechclouts! So take
it easy, pal; in rough-housing these
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 25
gents, don’t scratch yourself on one
of those arrows or darts, or you’ll
never again have to worry about fall¬
ing into the hands of our metal
T HEY had rushed through the
thickest part of the gathering
Indians. Shama, racing into the
forest, had called out repeatedly,
Now Leyson remembered.
“She was probably telling them
that the metal gods were coming, and
that you and I didn’t count, were to
be permitted through. Otherwise...”
But he didn’t explain what he
meant by otherwise. He didn’t need
to. Horton knew.
“Far enough for the moment,” said
Leyson. “Pick yourself a tree and
let’s see what goes on!”
Suiting action to words, Leyson
jumped behind a large tree, Horton
right, with him. One of them looked
out to the right, the other to the left
—to see a most amazing thing. At
the very edge of the jungles a half
dozen robots had come to a full stop.
And all around them, their faces
abjectly in the leaves and mold, were
the Indians who had not, apparent¬
ly, even seen Leyson and Horton.
Leyson watched it for a moment.
The heads of the robots were turn¬
ing, and he knew that both Horton
and himself were sure to be spotted,
if they had not already been dis¬
covered. Knew that, far away, or
close—just how far or how close he
must find out before the matter was
ended—a human enemy was watch¬
ing them both, six human enemies,
planning dire things to do to them
when they were caught again. Those
enemies would also wonder mightily
at the fact that the Indians had let
the two white men through.
“Rule the robots,” said Leyson,
“and rule the jungles! Come on,
they won’t trample those Indians.
Gods don’t work like that. Let’s
keep going. I’ve a feeling now that
we may out-smart these guttural
voiced Johnnies, after all!”
They crashed on through the
jungle, knowing themselves safe
from pursuit for the time being.
They found Shama waiting for them.
And tears were streaming down her
cheeks. Horton clucked his sym¬
pathy. It was all Leyson could do
to keep his own arms from going
around her shaking shoulders.
“You see?” she said. “You see
what they do to my people? And
there is nothing I can do. They only
tolerate me now. But they believe
the metal ones are stronger.”
“Why?” said Leyson.
“Because their eyes are red. Be¬
cause darts do not hurt them. Be¬
cause they travel without fear in the
“Listen,” said Horton. “Leave it
to Jack and me! We’ll do some¬
thing about it, you can be sure of
that. Why? Well, because my pal
has taken a shine to you, even if he
never gets up nerve enough to say
“Taken a shine? He does not
shine! What do you mean?”
“Unless he is an awful fool,” said
Horton, grinning, “he won’t wait
more than twenty-four hours more
before telling you!”
She must have guessed, however,
from the expression on Leyson’s
face. And it didn’t make her angry.
Rather, she smiled, and rubbed away
her tears with the back of her hand,
like a child.
“Take me to wherever we can
make medicine, Shama,” said Leyson.
“We’ve got to figure how to turn the
tables on the masters of the metal
Whispers in the Dark
S HAMA led the two men to
her own dwelling place, one
obviously built by white
men. There were chairs, divans, a
table—every sort of convenience for
a family, say, of three people. Ley-
son’s curiosity was aroused.
Shama, guessing, told him swiftly.
Both men were becoming more ac¬
customed to her English, which must
have been affected by the Indian
tongue she was used to speaking.
26 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“My father and mother came in
here when I was very young,” she
said. “I never knew why. But fa¬
ther seemed afraid of something, and
so did mother. Father had many
books with him. I have tried to
learn from them. I spoke English
before they... .before they-well,
went away. Mother went first. A
strange sickness. Father could not
live without her. I was about seven
years old. I was left alone with the
Leyson held his breath as he lis¬
tened. Horror gripped him, too, as
he thought what it must have been
like for this young girl, alone for
the last dozen years or more, among
“My golden hair saved me,” she
went on. “There is a story about a
woman with white skin, and golden
hair....but I’ll tell you about that
“The Sirens story!” said Leyson.
“Must have seeped into the jungles
from somewhere, and got all
“Yes,” said Shama. “It’s the story
of the sirens.”
“Your name, though. It isn’t Eng¬
“The Indians have called me
Shama since I was little. My par¬
ents did, too, to please the people
we lived with. But-”
“But that isn’t getting us any¬
where now. Shama, do you under¬
stand the metal men? What makes
them walk, and talk, and nothing
There was instant terror in her
eyes, and Leyson realized that Shama
herself was inclined to credit them
with being supernatural. His sym¬
pathy for her grew. He could im¬
agine with' difficulty how she had
been able to carry on, herself believ¬
ing, as did the Indians, that the ro¬
bots were from another world, maybe
even from the sky....
“There was a great sound, a great
roaring in the night,” she said. “My
people heard it and were terribly
afraid. But I have never been afraid
of the night. I know the smell of
the jaguar, and I can see the eyes
of serpents in the dark. I can climb
trees faster than the natives. So I
went out when the sound was loud¬
est. I saw two great eyes, high above
the cliff where the caves are. They
were circling, and great white
winged things were dropping from
some black bulk between the
“Running lights of a plane!” said
Leyson. “Men dropping by para¬
“Also robots,” said Horton.
“That was a year ago,” said Shama.
“Since then the roaring has come oft¬
en, always at night, and more crea¬
tures have dropped. They come out
of the west, over the mountains. And
there is much thunder in the deep
“Yes, where the ancestors of my
people once dug for yellow metal,
gold. Oh, Zhack, we have made
things very difficult. You see, for
all the years I can remember, my peo¬
ple have known of the exit from the
caves, but they have never dared en¬
ter. Tabus. But I entered the caves
when I was a mere child, and be¬
cause the gods did not injure me, the
Indians regarded me as an immortal.
Now, since they have seen the metal
men come out of the same cave, and
saw me racing to escape them, they
will be more nearly convinced than
ever, that the metal gods are stronger
that I am.”
^^RI7HICH simply adds to the
W difficulty of our job,
Shama,” said Leyson, taking her
hand and stroking it, much to her
delight. “Now, then, Shama, are you
afraid to take Horton and me to this
deep valley you mention? Can you
get us there without our being ob¬
“Of course. That’s where the
shining ones work.”
“Other metal men, I think. Not
like those you have seen. These are
the workers. They mine for gold
and precious stones.”
“Using robots in mines!” said Hor¬
ton. “That’s really something. They
never get tired.”
“Can you take us there, Shama?”
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 27
said Leyson softly. “Gold is what
most meA consider the most precious
thing, for which they take the most
chances. Some of the people we wish
to contact will be there, watching
the work, or will certainly come
there, if we wait long enough. Can
we get there at night, unobserved
by the metal men?”
“I can take you there,” said Shama
simply. “But it is terribly danger-
“Everything here is dangerous,”
said Leyson. “But it’s imperative
that Horton and I make contact with
the human beings back of all this.
Now, Shama, I’ll try to explain the
He spoke swiftly, and she tried her
best to understand, though elec¬
tricity, remote radio control, remote
camera-control work, and the like,
were beyond her. Even when he had
finished she was inclined to regard
the metal men as something more
than human—which may not have
been far wrong.
“We’ve got to reach their commu¬
nication center,” said Leyson. “And
we’ve got to get control of it, some¬
how. And Rog, there’s bound to be
explosives in this deep valley,
wouldn’t you think? How do they
blast out the rocks?”
“There is much roaring, sudden
and air-shaking, in deep valley,”
said Shama simply, “if that means
anything to you.”
“Let’s have something to eat,” said
Leyson, “and then rest until dark.
And look—I can use bow and arrows,
and so can Horton. Can you get two
bows for us, and a flock of arrows?”
“Poisoned?” she asked brightly.
Leyson shuddered. “I wouldn’t
use poison on rattlesnakes,” he said.
“Just plain, ordinary arrows.”
“They’d use poison on us,” said
“Maybe, but so far they haven’t.
Besides, maybe we’ll get some of
their own weapons. We’ll just hang
onto the bows and arrows until we
get a break.”
"IjrfcEEP darkness had settled over
MW the jungles when Shama, who
had watched silently over the two
sleeping men, wakened Leyson and
Horton, let them know it was time
to go. Her eyes were bright with
hope. Leyson could not help himself.
He took her in his arms, held her
tightly against him. He felt her heart
beating against him, like that of a
frightened bird. He let her go,
looked down into her face. If he
expected her to bd startled, or resent¬
ful, he was mistaken.
“When father took mother in his
arms like that,” she said softly, “he
always pressed his lips against hers,
She stood on tiptoe, caught his
head between her soft warm palms,
pulled his head down and kissed him.
“Isn’t it almost time to tell her
what a man feels like when he takes
a shine to a woman?”
“I understand why they did it,”
said Shama. “It’s very nice!”
Whether she understood all the
implications of the kiss, was doubt¬
ful, but Horton had his suspicions,
inasmuch as she didn’t offer to kiss
“My people will be in their shacks,
through the jungles,” said Shama.
“They fear many devils, and now
there are the metal gods. They will
not even know I am out of my house.
They will see the light go out, and
think I sleep.”
“What will they think about two
men in your house?”
“Shama,” said Shama, “can do
whatever she wishes, as far as they
are concerned. She can not be
Shama, a few minutes after she
had snuffed out the pitch flambeaus
which lighted her house, listened
first for sounds from the jungles
which neither Leyson nor Horton
could hear. Then she signaled that
all was clear, and led the way into
“Keep right behind me,” she said,
“and you’ll be safe from snakes. I
can see and smell them.”
Leyson shivered. The girl was still
barefoot and barelegged. He thought
of sirucucus, coral snakes, and
labarias, with horror. But she had
been doing this twelve years and
23 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
more, so another night trip would
scarcely be more dangerous than oth¬
ers she had taken, with no one with
her at all. He could imagine her
travelling alone, stalked by jaguars,
ocelots. Well, if he could get her
away, she’d never have to do it again,
that was a cinch.
“How did you know how to reach
me last night?” he- had asked her.
“My people brought me word of
you. I sneaked into the dead city,
kept out of sight of the metal gods,
and hunted until I found you. It
was very simple.”
Leyson felt ashamed of himself
and of Horton. They had made such
tough going of their trip into the
jungle, until they had been captured
by Mr. Zehn, when this girl had been
at home in the forest since she had
been a mere baby. And she seemed
all the healthier and more beautiful
S HAMA was leading them away
from the dead city, and the cliff,
to the north and east, Leyson no¬
ticed. But within a few minutes he
was hopelessly lost, except that he
followed her easily, and Horton fol¬
lowed him. The girl seemed able
to see in the dark, to find ways
through the woods where there
couldn’t possibly be any.
After what he judged to be two
hours of it, he could hear the mur¬
muring of water, a sound which grew
in volume. Shama led the way
through a tapir run to the bank of a
dark stream. She hadn’t said a word
for the last hour, nor had she paused
for rest. Both men had gripped their
bows, with arrows nocked, all the
way, expecting all sorts of horror out
of the night—though none came.
Shama led them to a dugout, hid¬
den among the underbrush along the
bank of the stream.
“There is another stream, leading
into deep valley,” she said. “A very
small stream, with trees meeting over
“Of course they need water for
their work,” said Leyson. “They’ve
probably got plenty of riffles in op¬
“Riffles?” said Shama.
“Yes. They’re troughs, sort of, in
which sand and gravel are washed in
water diverted from a stream, usual¬
“Yes, it is like that. Rocks are
brought out of great holes in the
valley, and broken to bits by the met¬
al men, the shining ones, and
“I get it,” said Leyson. “Let’s get
going. I’m anxious to see how our
potential enemies get the gold they
intend to buy off South America
with. I’ll row; I’m pretty good at it.”
But Shama would have none of it,
and it soon became obvious why. She
could handle the dugout faster by
herself than both of them together
would have been able to do. She
turned out of the main stream—hav¬
ing kept to the shadows all the way
—into a deep, narrow gut, where the
water ran deep and still...
“My people say the water here
goes down to the nether regions,”
said Shama, whispering. “I believe
it may be so. I’ve been here by day,
and I could see down and down un¬
til I could see no further.”
“Which proves it!” said Horton.
“Silence from here on,” said
And silence it was. So deftly did
she manage the dugout they could
scarcely hear it move through the
water at all. But swiftly the walls
of jungle and rocks on either hand
moved past them. Not even a star
looked through the interlaced
branches above their heads. The only
light at all came from phosphores¬
cent creatures which swam below
them, and both men, looking over¬
side, shuddered at the depths sug¬
gested by some of those eerie lights.
Shama stopped. She whispered to
them to step out, guided each with a
quick grasp of the hand. Then she
pulled the prow of the dugout up,
moored it with a liana, and led the
way through the dark, this time on
a trail by which Leyson guessed that
the men whom they sought to con¬
tact were in the habit of reaching the
No guessing what mysterious peo¬
ple, from time immemorial right up
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 29
to now, had used this dark passage.
Any one of them might be encoun¬
tered at any moment, incidentally, a
fact of which both men were well
aware. They were on the alert every
moment. Shama left the path finally,
plunging again into what seemed to
be impenetrable jungle, yet which
she followed easily, and they fol¬
lowed her without difficulty. She was
climbing, so fast it was all they
could do to keep up with her.
She came out, at last, into eerie
moonlight, upon a flat rock. Leyson
looked about him, hunting land¬
marks. He guessed that the high,
mesa-like pinnacle off to his left was
the butte beyond which was the dead
city, and the robots. He could not
see their lights—and their real use
was still a mystery to him.
But Shama, sitting on the rock be¬
side him, clutching his arm and
pointing, was showing him some¬
thing he did understand, something
that made sense. A mining camp on
the floor of a deep pothole. Leyson
wondered instantly if the whole pot¬
hole had not been excavated by hu¬
man hands, back down the lost ages
of mankind. One day, perhaps, he
would find out.
OW he could see black holes,
three of them, leading into the
sides of the pothole. There were
dump mounds outside each one, and
a series of rifles. And going into the
mines, and coming out, were constant
streams of metal men. These men
were not intended to be seen by In¬
dians, or anyone else'. They looked
dirty, rough. They were metal
things created for the sole purpose
of labor too strenuous for natives.
There was no telling how many of
them there were. But Leyson felt
reasonably sure of one thing: that
each crew, in each mine, was man¬
aged by a human being, so located
that he could see both the dump and
the end of the stope.
A table in a niche in the wall of
the mine, perhaps, with all the gadg¬
ets on it needed to operate the ro¬
bots—and men working those gadg¬
ets, cool and comfortable, waiting
for the metal monsters to bring out
The sullen, unearthly clanking of
the metal men was a ghastly thing,
there in that hole. Great pieces of
metal they were. Leyson could
imagine what a horror those robots
could be, if they got out of control.
Senseless, soulless, if animated and
then allowed out of hand, they could
work unbelievable havoc. He sucked
in his breath as he allowed himself
to speculate on the possibilities;
what it would be like to smash all of
the tables, while all the robots were
working under full power.
“Interesting, isn’t it?” said a calm
voice. “Why don’t you and the un¬
known lady go down and visit our
All three whirled to face the one
who had spoken, and the four others
at his back. No robots, these five
men, Leyson and Horton knew at
once. A cry of fear broke from
Shama, who was on her feet, poised
like a wild thing for flight. The
spokesman laughed softly, bowed to
“How could our clever guests have
hidden you so successfully, young
lady?” he said.
None of the three could think of
anything to say. The five men held
pistols in their hands. Lugers, Ley-
son noted, on the barrels of which
the moonlight glowed sullenly.
“Leyson and Horton, of course, we
know,” the man went on. “But we
did not know of the lady. What is
your name, my dear?”
“Never mind that,” said Leyson
grimly, “and keep your distance.
Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve got
an arrow nocked, and that you’re too
close for me to miss.”
“Yes, Leyson, I noticed. But you
won’t shoot because you can get but
one of us, and the rest of us can kill
you and Horton instantly. Then
what happens to the young woman—
who hasn’t yet answered my ques¬
tion? Perhaps I should be more for¬
mal. My name is Heinrich von
Glauber. These gentlemen are mem¬
bers of my staff. From right to left
they are Franz Klein, Georg Wegler,
Hermann Kiesling and Jacob Furst
30 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
...and all four are kindly disposed
toward ladies, especially ladies who
are young and beautiful.”
Leyson, sighing, lowered his bow.
So did Horton, carefully following
the lead of Leyson. They bent and
placed their futile weapons on the
rock at their feet. Then Leyson
came erect like a snake uncoiling,
and was halfway to Von Glauber be¬
fore that worthy could realize that
he was actually being foolhardy
enough to attack.
Leyson dove at Von Glauber’s
knees, struck them fairly. Horton
was right behind him, instantly en¬
gaged with the other four men. Now
they were too close for the men to
use their weapons, except as clubs.
But as the seven men sprawled on
the rock in a furious tangle, Von
Glauber raised his voice in a great
“Help! Come here at once!”
From both directions, to right and
left, the cry was answered.
The adventurous trio had been
neatly trapped. It was only a matter
of seconds before they would be
Leyson, fighting like a madman,
struggled up through the pile of
fighting men. A pistol muzzle laid
his scalp open. But he scarcely felt
it. He was looking about for Shama.
She had disappeared.
Battle for Life
L EYSON fought on savagely,
as did Horton, the former
handicapped still by his left
boot, which had no heel. And there
was a grim anger burning in Leyson.
Had Shama deliberately betrayed
them into the hands of the enemy?
It seemed inconceivable that a
creature like Shama, ab}e to avoid
snakes in the dark, to travel through
trackless jungle at midnight, could
have failed to know that Von Glau¬
ber and his men were on watch. They
had surprised the trio, and it should
not have been possible, with the keen
senses of Shama as a safeguard. And
now she had run out on them. Ley-
son swore bitterly, suspecting that
she, having done her part, had now
stepped out of the picture until they
should be captured or killed.
All that tale of being something
like a jungle goddess! Of having
spent twelve years in the forests
with the Indians! The kiss she had
given Leyson. The whole thing had
been a fraud; he and Horton had
been taken in like a couple of school¬
“It sort of seems we’ve been had,
Jack,” panted Horton.
Then Leyson’s partner had come
to the same conclusion. Shama was
a tool of the enemy, a lure for gulli¬
ble men. Well, the least Leyson and
Horton could do was give a good
account of themselves. They had
both, as part of their training for
their hazardous work, learned all
they possibly could about dirty,
lethal ways of fighting. They made
use of them now, though the outlook
was hopeless because reinforcements
were coming from all directions.
Leyson caught one of the men
with a flying mare, but all his
strength behind the hold, and heaved
the man over the rock. The fellow
screamed. Franz Klein, he thought.
He heard him strike, far below, and
then .there was only silence.
“That’s the trouble with ordinary
men,” said Von Glauber calmly. “The
jungles destroy them. Human beings
are so soft, as you will discover, Ley-
son! Take them alive, men! I’ve
work for them to do.”
Leyson suspected what that work
would be like, and wanted none of
it. Two men grabbed him from eith¬
er side, trying to get their knees be¬
hind his, to spill him. He let him¬
self go, swifter than they expected.
He sprawled upon the reck, supine,
pulling them down with him. As
they came he fastened his hands in
their hair, and then with all the
strength of sudden fury that was al¬
most insane, he smashed their heads
together. He meant it to kill, and he
did kill; the two men were limp upon
A little sick, he scrambled out
from under them. Someone grabbed
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 31
his left wrist, yanking him erect. On
his feet he teetered for a moment,
then let drive with a terrific right
to the nearest jaw. The blow landed.
The jaw cracked, audibly. The man
staggered back, both hands to his
face. Von Glauber had now stepped
out of the fray to issue orders to
“You with the broken jaw,” he
said calmly, “since when do our men
withdraw from a fight?”
The tortured fellow moaned as he
lowered his hands and came charg¬
ing back in while Horton, now stand¬
ing, and smelling of blood and sweat,
swung so that he and Leyson were
fighting back to back. Leyson, grim¬
ly gleeful, swung another right to
the broken jaw of the man at whom
Glauber had jeered. This time the
fellow did not return to the fight.
He staggered back to the rim of the
rock instead, teetered there for a mo¬
ment, then went over. Leyson had a
suspicion that he could have kept
from going if he had cared enough
There was plenty of cold, calm
brutality here, which brooked no
good for the future of Leyson and
Horton if the enemy took them
“Make them kill us, Rog,” he said.
V ON GLAUBER heard, laughed
“You underestimate human endur¬
ance, Leyson,” he said. “You can take
far more than you think you can,
as we have proved conclusively so
many times during the past five years
since we started work in this place.”
Plainly those robots couldn’t be
the work of a few months, or a year.
They argued a laboratory painstak¬
ingly brought into the jungle in se¬
cret, over a long period of time. May¬
be even more than five years.
The battle on the rock was a ti¬
tanic struggle. Horton was good in
a fight; he loved to fight. Leyson
could hear him" gurgling with de¬
light as his fists hammered a man
to his knees, and Horton’s heavy-
shod shoe finished the business with
a swift, deadly kick under the chin.
Half a dozen of the enemy were
down, but there seemed to be two
fresh ones for each one that the two
of them put out of action.
Leyson was tiring. Horton must
also be. It was coming too soon after
their long period of sickness and
hardship. But there was no quit in
either one of them.
Once, as a series of blows drove
his head back, spinning him on his
good heel, Leyson thought he saw
Shama, far up the side of the pot¬
hole, through the trees, watching the
struggle. But he could not be sure.
Now many hands were clutching
at him. His shirt and undershirt had
been ripped from his torso. Nails
clawed his skin raw. Fists smashed
against his ribs, causing them to
crack with their force. But his own
fists kept up a steady tattoo on the
faces and bodies of his enemies. Von
Glauber kept talking.
“I’m really grateful to you two
for fighting back, Leyson. This pro¬
vides my men with something to re¬
lieve the boredom. Men become ir¬
ritable when there is little to do—
and no women save Indians, whom
we have to treat with courtesy.”
Glauber wasn’t just talking to pass
the time, Leyson knew, but to pre¬
pare them for what lay ahead. His
plans for them were already set, had
been since they had started in this
direction after their porters had es¬
caped. How far did the metal men
roam? And why? He was almost
tempted to surrender in the hope
that he would be provided with the
Down below he could hear,
through the sound of the struggle,
the clanking of the “miners.” The
work in the three mines went for¬
ward as though nothing of import¬
ance, anywhere, were going on. He
caught glimpses of the metal mon¬
sters, like ants on those ore dumps,
working the riffles, getting out the
How much gold had been taken
from these mines already?
And what did these people know
about other mines, deposits of pre¬
cious stones, and the like, all through
this vast unknown area, in which the
32 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
Conquistadores had heard tales of
El Dorado? His brain reeled, as
much with the implications of this
mechanized horror as with the blows
of pistol butts and muzzles, fists and
feet, against his head and body. His
lips were smashed and bleeding. His
nose was flattened over his face. His
whole body was a nest of unbearable
pain. He could hear Horton groan¬
ing now when the blows landed. The
enemy had been told to take them
alive, but not to be especially care¬
ful with them.
L e y s o n, before the concerted
charge of three men, staggered back¬
ward, almost to the edge of the fatal
plunge. But hands caught him and
yanked him to safety again. His fists
were still flailing out, but his weak¬
ness was becoming a leaden, ghastly
thing. He saw that Horton was down,
and that one of the Germans was
systematically uppercutting him in
Then, a terrific blow struck him at
the base of the skull, and he fell
much further into total darkness
than he would have fallen had he
gone over the edge.
H OW long unconsciousness last¬
ed he had no way of knowing.
But when he opened his eyes it was
to look into the steel-gray eyes of
Henrich von Glauber, and- to know
by the myriad of sounds and their
echoes that he was near a vast room
of some sort. The clicking and chat¬
tering of many instruments were in
And the moaning of one man.
Heinrich von Glauber, his face
“The foolishness is over, Leyson.
Both of you have been treated for
your hurts; you will ache a bit, but
you are well bandaged. You can walk
about, but don’t try anything. I’ve
plans for you, as I told you. Nothing
shall interefere with my plans.”
Leyson managed a twisted grin.
“The first trick appears to be yours
Von Glauber,” he said.
“All the tricks are mine,” said Von
Glauber. “They have to be, if I want
to stay alive. My superiors are as
much averse to the failure of subor¬
dinates as I am.”
“Nice people,” said Leyson, trying
to sit up. He managed it. Across a
small, brightly electric lighted room
from him, Horton rolled on a com¬
fortable cot, twin to the one on which
Leyson sat. Leyson knew now that
the sounds he had heard came from a
larger room beyond a partially opened
door. He looked a question at Von
“You can see whatever you wish,
Leyson,” said Von Glauber. “But it is
useless to attempt escape.”
Finding his wrists so tightly bound
behind him that his hands were in
agony, Leyson was inclined to agree.
He knew the first time he tugged at
those bonds that he could never free
himself of them alone. Horton was
also bound, he noticed when he again
looked that way.
“Okay, Von Glauber,” said Leyson.
“Let’s have a look—before grub pile!”
Von Glauber smiled. “Americans
never forget food, do they?”
“No,” said Leyson. “In my coun¬
try they still know what it is !”
Glauber, without a change of ex¬
pression, slapped Leyson, backhand,
across the mouth. A coldly calculat¬
ed act of cruelty which, however, did
not cause Leyson to change expres¬
sion. But Leyson said,
“I’ll probably kill you for that be¬
fore I am done with you.”
“Perhaps, though I doubt it. If you
do it will still change nothing. Your
destiny is now linked with that of my
people, whether you like it or not.
Leyson had been dressed in cloth¬
ing furnished by the enemy, just
prior to his awakening, he gathered,
for he wore a complete new outfit,
even to shoes.
Glauber led the way into the other
room. Leyson gasped at the size of
it. There were panels, like stock ex¬
change blackboards, all around the
vast place. In the center of it—Ley-
son estimated that if was two hun¬
dred feet wide by three hundred feet
long—was a maze of tables, over
which a small, bespectacled, hunch¬
backed man seemed to be presiding,
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 33
though at the moment Leyson could
not see what went on there.
“Professor Grosboeck,” said Von
“Professor Grosboeck!” ejaculated
Leyson. “Professor Albrecht Gros¬
boeck? The professor of geology
who was supposed to have been lost
in Brazil’s interior fifteen years
“The same, Leyson. Many others
have been ‘lost’ in the same time, of
course. ‘Losing’ them has been the
simplest way to get them here, and
no questions asked. Grosboeck has
been here all that time. He was one
of the brainiest men in the Reich.
Too bad, however, he does not ap¬
prove of our leader! We have to
watch him closely, because of his la.k
of sympathy for our cause!”
EYSON shuddered, started mov¬
ing along the wall to his right.
Below each blackboard was a table,
covered with what looked to be tele¬
graph “bugs,” before each of which a
blond young man with close-cropped
hair sat, while two men worked on
the blackboard before them. They
were setting down data which, so far,
made no sense to Leyson.
“Makes me think of the New York
Aquarium,” said Leyson, “but don’t
slap me again for belittling whatever
you are doing for the good of people
who are already satisfied with things.
I wouldn’t be able to kill you twice,
you know, and I’m not good at tortur¬
“Your tongue,” said Von Glauber,
“can cause you considerable pain.”
“Yeah,” said Leyson, “so it can. But
it doesn’t seem to make you happy,
either. What’s that stuff on the
“Geological data,” said Von Glau¬
ber calmly. “Notice that the board is
ruled off in squares. Each square co¬
incides with a given area of the ter¬
rain hereabouts. The data gives us
an at-a-glance digest of the essential
minerals to be found in each such
“And how do you get the informa¬
tion? Don’t tell me, I can guess!
Your metal men! But how—?”
Von Glauber gestured to the table
where the “bugs” were busy. Leyson
stepped closer, and understood why
the tables were more desks than ta¬
bles, while the space where the legs
should have been were almost solid,
and therefore packed with machinery.
Before each bug were illuminated
squares corresponding to the squares
on the blackboard. And in the first
square, which was marked “acht,"
Leyson could see a strip of jungles...
“I take it I am now looking through
the eyes of Mr. Eight, wherever he
is?” said Leyson. “Standing right
here above the square which is Mr.
Eight’s control, I patrol his area
without hardship or danger to my¬
self, and do my work—which in this
instance consists in prospecting for
“And iron, chrome, diamonds, ru¬
bies, emeralds,” said Von Glauber. “It
may be, when we have conquered the
world, that we shall wish for some
other base for coinage than gold.
That’s our work here.”
“What a maze of metal brains Mr.
Acht must have!”
“Quite! He, and his brothers, are
the masterpieces of Professor Gros¬
boeck. You see, in our early work in
the upper Amazon valley, we were
hampered by many things. Even bush
negroes, when we could get any of
them even to try to work for us, died
of hardship, sickness, and snake bite.
None of these things affects our ro¬
bots. And we don’t have to feed
them. Even the matter of repair
amounts to little, because Grosboeck
is really a master mechanic. His ma¬
chines seldom get out of order.”
Leyson turned and looked at the
little professor whom the world had
given up for lost, fifteen years be¬
fore—and to find whom a score of
people, hunting the unknown world
of the jungle, had lost their lives.
Here seemed to be the answer.
Right now, busy with his pet ideas,
the Professor seemed oblivious to ev¬
erything. But when he was alone in
his own room, he must suffer agonies,
realizing to what uses his mechanical
men were being put.
“Don’t feel badly about him,” said
Von Glauber. “He will go down in'
history as one of the greatest men—”
34 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“Because he will have loosed on the
world tl. - most potent engines of de¬
struction? Because he will have made
it possible for his people to wipe out
whole nations, overnight?”
V ON GLAUBER didn’t answer.
Leyson looked into several other
squares. Then he turned to Von
Glauber, who was close on his heels.
All in this room, incidentally, wore a
kind of uniform, which proved to
Leyson’s satisfaction that they were
military men. He did not study the
uniform in detail. He did not need
to. For now and again Von Glauber
addressed a terse remark to some
man. That man instantly jumped to
his feet, clicked his heels, bowed.
Leyson did not grin. There was
nothing here to grin about. Right
here in this room was the force that
ruled Brazil, this very minute, though
it had not yet proclaimed such rule.
And Brazil knew little or nothing of
it, as far as Leyson had any way of
knowing—though none could ever be
sure of all that went on behind the
“Where,” said Leyson, after he had
walked slowly down most of one side
of the room, “is the master map, on
which you plot all this information?”
“A military and economic secret,”
said Von Glauber. “But it covers an
area, roughly, of a thousand square
miles, and is being constantly extend¬
ed in all directions. Within this area
we have plotted air fields, anti-air¬
“And at any moment you can send
your miners to those spots to clear
the forest, eh?”
“Oh, no, the miners will be kept at
their work, moving from mine to
mine as each is worked out. We have
another force being created for that
job, though the miners, and even our
‘mappers’ and ‘prospectors,’ can be
sent to that work if we have to move
before the time decided on in our
“More and different robots?” said
“Another secret, my friend.”
“You must have thousands of these
metal monstrosities,” said Leyson.
“Why, then, do you need to cater to
“So that’s where the white girl
come from?” ejaculated Von Glau¬
ber. “I knew I’d get a hint if I just
didn’t ask questions. How did you
know what we were doing among
the Indians—who can be wiped out
the instant we desire? Who told
you? I thought that girl looked a
bit wild! She gave you the informa¬
tion, didn’t she? Helped you to es¬
cape from the cave below here?
Made it necessary for us to call off
the pursuit of the robots?”
Leyson shut his mouth like a trap.
He had given away too much. And
Von Glauber had told him two
'things: Shama had not betrayed him,
and this great laboratory was in the
heart of the monolith of stone, the
great butte, which rose above the
“I’m not fooled,” said Leyson, when
the silence drew out too long.
“No? How do you mean?”
“I know very well she betrayed us
into your hands?”
Von Glauber laughed. “You Amer¬
icans are such children! She rescued
you, only to betray you into our
hands, when all she had to do was
leave you in our hands! Never mind,
we’ll get her.”
“What do you want her for, any¬
way? Your robots have broken her
power among her people.”
“But not her natural power as a
beautiful woman,” said Von Glauber,
grinning. “I’m still susceptible to a
lovely woman, if she is fresh and
T HERE was no mistaking the ex¬
pression on Leyson’s face now,
and Von Glauber laughed at him
“So she has won the heart of the
American secret agent, eh? That’s
fine. She will be a marvelous host¬
age in our hands. Knowing that we
hold her, even a patriotic American
like yourself, who must see that we
are certain to win our objectives any¬
way, will be amenable to reason.”
“Just what to you expect Horton
and me to do?” asked Leyson coldly.
“To represent us in asking the Bra-
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 35
zilian government to surrender. That
accomplished, to ask for the surren¬
der of neighboring countries. When
they hear what you will be able to
tell them, they’ll speedily come into
“And just when,” said Leyson, “are
we to do this?”
“Oh, at least a year from now! It
will take that long for you to find out
everything—and for us to consolidate
our gains and make new ones. A year
is not long. I believe I could spend
that long with the young lady with¬
out being bored!”
“I repeat what I said before, Vcn
Glauber,” said Leyson. “I shall kill
you—before that year is up.”
Von Glauber chuckled. His chuck¬
le reminded Leyson forcibly of the
chuckling of Mr. Zehn, so that he
knew the chuckles were actually the
“If you killed me, Leyson, it would
go hard with your girl friend. In¬
deed, as soon as we have captured her,
I shall give you the freedom of our
headquarters, with no restrictions
whatever. That’s how sure I am of
Leyson started to say that he would
kill him anyway, even if Shama were
sure to die as a result—because both
Shama and himself would prefer her
death to life among these people—but
he shut his mouth tightly on a state¬
ment that Von Glauber was far too
likely to believe. His vast egotism
could not see that any man could be
without price. He really expected to
win Horton and Leyson over to his
schemes, that was plain.
By the time Leyson had circled the
four walls of the laboratory, he be¬
lieved he had found a way to circum¬
vent the whole hellish movement. But
first he must make sure that Shama
“I’m stunned by the extent of all
this,” said Leyson. “I’d like to think
it over. Food and sleep would help,
I think, since we’ve got a whole year.
How much gold do you think you’ve
mined to date?”
Von Glauber grinned as he led Ley-
son back to the room in which he had
wakened, where Horton now sat up
on his cot, fully conscious. To Glau¬
ber that question about gold could
mean but one thing: that Leyson,
bowing to the inevitable, was already
figuring what he could get out of it
Leyson intended for him to think
To THREE people,” said
’W Horton grimly, after
A ^1 they had eaten the tapir
steak brought to them shortly there¬
after, “have ever been dropped into
quite such a mess. By that I mean
you, and me, and-”
“Shhhh!” said Leyson.
“Meaning they don’t know her
name, and that therefore she isn’t one
of them, also that she didn’t do us in
the eye after all; but I don’t know
how they could have sneaked up on
us if she’s the woodsman we know
“Something she didn’t know. Rog,
I’ve always heard a lot about German
efficiency, but I’ve just seen some of
it. I know how grand their cameras
are, their binoculars, and precision
instruments, but this business of re¬
mote-control metal men—which seem
to have everything in them, including
the ability to detect metals under the
“What’s so remarkable about that?”
said Horton grumpily. “They’re run
by radioactive elements of some sort,
combined with electricity, wireless,
and a little of everything else. Why
couldn’t they find metals as well as
being able to heal malarial patients,
be troubled by vocal vibrations, and
having the power to keep going in¬
definitely? I could do it myself—if
I were a professor.”
“Like Professor Grosboeck,” said
“Yeah. Too bad he’s dead.”
“He’s the real brains behind this
place,” said Leyson. “He was ‘lost’
deliberately, by his government, fif¬
teen years ago. His brains, however,
are captive brains. Therefore we have
36 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
to give him due consideration when
we get away from here.”
Horton looked at the heavy metal
door which now shut them off from
the main laboratory, and shrugged.
‘‘I supposed this room is wired for
sound, and that every whisper we ut¬
ter is heard?”
“Probably. Just as the whole lab¬
oratory is air-conditioned, to keep
our hosts comfortable while their ro¬
bots work. Just as it is the perfect
home in the wilderness for those who
use it. Rag, nothing like it has ever
before been seen or heard of. Just
imagine where we fit in. The jun¬
gles filled with Indians, bush ne¬
groes, snakes of all kinds, fever, in¬
sects, everything that is man-killing.
Add to that the most destructive ag¬
gregation of forces ever gathered to¬
gether, and you’ve got something.”
“The thing that’s got us bound and
hog-tied. We’ve got just one break,
but it may mean more trouble than
anything else: they haven’t yet got
“No names!” said Horton. “Though
it probably doesn’t matter. Robots
aren’t interested in names.”
“There are,” replied Leyson quiet¬
ly, “as nearly as I could guess,
thirty-three hundred of the highly
mechanized robots in operation.
They work in all directions from
here. Through the woods, through
the streams, prospecting, laying out
landing fields, reporting on tribes,
giving our friend Von Glauber a
perfect line-up of the whole show.
And in his own good time he can
send them from end to end of the
whole South American continent if
he feels like it. Rog, it looks as
though we were whipped before we
“I’ve never heard you talk like that,
Jack,” said Horton. “You must be
getting soft, on account of the kid.”
O, IT’S just an impossible
situation, that’s all. Listen,
what chance do you think an expedi¬
tionary force would have against this
place? Even if the enemy did noth¬
ing but stay in its own bailiwick, they
couldn’t be reached with the strong¬
est guns that could be dragged
through the jungles to be used
against them. And if they turned
their robots loose against infantry—”
“I’d like to see what a machine-gun
would do to them, just the same,”
said Horten grimly.
“I’m afraid we’ll never get the
Leyson, however, had now conclud¬
ed a careful, minute survey of the cell
in which they were housed. He could
find no proof that what they said was
being overheard, nor that their ac¬
tions could be seen. After all, the
enemy had probably never expected
to have visitors. Satisfied that they
were alone, unheard and unseen, Ley-
son backed up to Horton.
“Let’s see what we can do about
these ropes, Rog.”
Horton rose, backed against Ley-
son, his own wrists being bound be¬
hind him, and began to work. He
groaned with the pain as he forced
tortured hands to their work—hands
and wrists in which the circulation
had been cut off already by the stout
cords. Leyson watched the door, mo¬
mentarily expecting the return of
“I wonder how he’ll get hold of our
girl,” said Leyson. “I’m sure he’ll
make some sort of try, and soon.”
“The Indians can’t stand against
the robots, and if he doesn’t really
need the Indians_”
“He needs them at first, Rog, or
thinks he does. After all, they kill
game and bring it as offerings to the
metal gods, and the Germans like to
eat. Moreover, until their position is
consolidated, the Indians are a con¬
stant danger to anyone who enters
“But he won’t mind killing a few.
Jack. Besides, if he does, that will
simply make the rest all the more ab¬
ject. Son, he’s going to get our gal,
don’t worry about that. She’s a gone
“He’ll find he’s got his hands full,
just the same,” said Leyson. “I wish
I could get out of here for just an
“Swear allegiance to the Reich, and
you will, ” said Horton, grinning.
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 37
“Glauber already knows about what
your price is.”
Gradually the bonds which held
Leyson were being loosened. He was
in a fever of anxiety lest someone en¬
ter before he could be entirely freed.
Not that he hoped to do much when
he was free, but if he could get Hor¬
ton free too, they could rush the doer
when it opened, and accomplish some¬
thing, if only to get themselves killed
and safely out of the mess. But even
that could not happen just yet, be¬
cause of Shama. She must not be
left to the tender mercies of the en¬
Leyson’s bonds fell free. In imagi¬
nation he heard the chuckling of Von
Glauber, and so certain of it was he
that he looked around the room again,
more carefully than before, to find
whether there were wires or holes by
which they could be seen and heard—
and found nothing. But that their
feeble efforts would amuse the man
he knew very well.
He started working on Horton’s
wrists, as soon as he had rubbed some
circulation back into his own. And
as he worked his eagerness mounted.
Nothing but death could lie beyond
that door, but it would mean action
which he must have. This business
of being cooped up like a rat in a trap
didn’t appeal to either one of them.
Horton was free, too. And as
though his freedom had been a sig¬
nal, the door swung open. The two
had only a split second to get back to
their cots and hold their hands behind
them, as though they were still bound.
Their bonds had been pushed under
Into the room came Von Glauber,
pulling someone after him. Someone
who sobbed as though her heart were
T HE marks of Glauber’s hands
were on her wrists. She had
been roughly handled. Her scant
clothing had been ripped and torn.
Her hair was all awry. There were
streaks of blood on her face. Her
legs were scratched and bleeding.
She had plainly put up a terrific fight.
“I told you we’d get her,” said
“They killed two score of my peo¬
ple, Zhack,” said Shama. “They let
the metal gods go against them. It
was a horrible thing. They gathered
up my warriors and hurled them
against trees. They lifted them and
pulled them apart, as though they
had been made of paper. They stran¬
gled them—and it wasn’t necessary!
If I knew that they wanted me, I’d
have surrendered myself before I’d
have permitted them to hurt my
“Inferior races,” said Von Glauber
coldly, “will be wiped out in any
event, sooner or later. Besides, now
that we have killed a few of the In¬
dians, the others will work all the
harder to appease their ‘gods.’ It was
good business, really. However, it’s
nice to know how you feel, young
woman. You would have given your¬
self up to save your people. Just
what would you do to save the lives
of your friends here?”
Her sobbing stopped. She hurried
to Leyson, put an arm about him. It
was all he could do to keep from
embracing her and thus giving away
the fact that he was free.
“What are you going to do to
them? Kill them?”
“Worse than that,” said Leyson
grimly. “He plans on using us to
betray just about everybody else in
the Western Hemisphere.”
“And I have personal plans ior you,
young lady,” said Von Glauber. “I’m
going to leave you here with your
friends for an hour or so, so that you
can realize, by talking things over,
just how hopeless your situation is.”
“Let me say one thing. Von Glau¬
ber,” said Leyson quietly, “before we
go a bit further. If anything more
happens to Shama, I won’t do any¬
thing for you, even though refusal
means my death.”
“Then I have no choice, have I?
If you’re no good to me, what reason
would I have to keep you alive—ex¬
cept, of course, that the young lady
obviously is smitten with you, and
would prefer not to have you dead,
do you see? I’m quite sure we can
get together, somehow.”
Von Glauber bowed, clicked his
heels, backed out of the door. Shama
38 ★ ★ ★ Science Ficvion Stories
went into Leyson’s arms now, and
there was no pretense about their
kiss. She may not have known any¬
thing about kisses before, but she
realized their meaning now, and that
her life would be forever empty with¬
out this man Leyson.
When she moved back from him,
after a bit, she explained swiftly what
had happened at the mines.
“I don’t know how we were sur¬
prised. I think it must have been be¬
cause I was thinking so much about
you, Zhack, that I couldn’t see any¬
thing, or hear anything. And then,
when so many attacked, I knew they
were certain to beat you. So, I ran.
I knew that I might be able to help,
if I were free, because I could go
places neither of you could. So, well,
as I say, I ran.”
“I thought I saw you, far up the
side of the pothole.”
“Maybe you did. I ran that way.
I jumped when you knocked down
the man who just brought me
here. . .
“And his underlings, thank heav¬
en,” said Leyson, “would do nothing
except as ordered, so nobody chased
you. But in the end, what good has
it done us? We’re whipped. And
how long has it been since we were
captured by Von Glauber?”
“This is afternoon of the next day,”
said Shama. “The robots came for
me just after dawn.”
“And we’re stuck. If only we had
weapons of some kind. If only we
had even clubs, next time that door
opens. . . .”
“I’ve been praying that what I’ve
got will help,” said Shama, interrupt¬
ing. “When the men took you away
last night, I resolved to find out ev¬
erything I could about this place, in
order to help if I could. I got into a
kind of house, dug under the hill,
some distance away from the mines.
I’d seen men go there to get some¬
thing that wasn’t very large, because
it wasn’t heavy to carry. Shortly
after each such visit, there would be
noises in the mines.”
Dynamite!” said Horton.
ST where do you suppose
she’d carry it, Rog? Those
laddies must have given her a good
going over when they captured her.”
“Black powder, some sort of explo¬
sive. That house in the hill she’s
talking about is their powder maga¬
zine. . . .”
Horton went silent. Shama, step¬
ping back from Leyson, was running
her hands feverishly through her
wealth of golden hair.
“Maybe it isn’t anything,” she said.
“I don’t know. But from what I’ve
read in father’s books. . . .”
She paused, her face very red.
Then, “They were brutal to me, those
men. I couldn’t have hidden what I
have anywhere else. I had planned
to sneak in some way after dark,
and get it to you. I’d have kept on
trying until I reached you, or died.
But when they came this morn-
Ihe couldn’t go on. Her lips were
trembling, and the tears were very
close again as she remembered what
the Germans had done to her Indian
Now, out of her hair, she brought
a small glass vial, tendered it to Ley-
son. He took it, uncorked it, smelled
it, touched it to his tongue. Then he
grinned tautly at Horton.
“Care to guess?” he said calmly.
“Nitro, dollars to doughnuts.”
“You couldn’t lose. If only we had
a bit more of it!”
“Oh, I have more,” said Shama. “I
have several of them, twisted up in
“Listen, honey,” said Leyson, “have
you any idea what would have hap¬
pened if just one of those little bot¬
tles had fallen out of your hair while
you were struggling with the Ger¬
mans? You’d have blown them and
yourself clear out to Africa, all in
tiny pieces. One of them exploding
would have detonated the rest in
your hair. . . .”
Horton had jumped to his feet, his
face very white. Now both men did
an automatic and necessary thing.
They caught up a blanket and held
it so that k formed a net all around
Shama. Then Leyson told her to go
ahead. He made sure there were' no
holes in his pockets. Then he put the
vials into those pockets, taking care
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 39
to put no two of them in one pocket.
“Now,” he said, “we can blow this
place off the face of the country!”
“We’ll also give ourselves a nice
ride!” said Horton, grinning.
Leyson looked at Shama, then at
Horton, but before he could say any¬
thing, Horton said it for him.
“Where’s our patriotism, eh? It’s
our bounden duty, if we see we can’t
win free with this stuff, to go ahead
and blow up the joint, even if we’re
still inside it. Well, I can go for it,
if you two can, though I’m sure I
won’t like it.”
Leyson looked at Shama, who could
scarcely be expected to understand
things like patriotism and duty. She
frowned, not understanding.
“Death comes to us?” she asked.
“It is necessary?”
“It may be,” replied Leyson,
“Then so long as I am with you
to the last, I shall not mind. But
why should it be necessary for us to
“Shama, what would you do if you
could have back the lives of the In¬
dians who were killed this morning?
To save the lives of those who sur¬
Her shoulders went back proudly.
“I would die, without hesitation.”
“That’s it. These people threaten
a great continent, two great conti¬
nents. Their masters already rule
most of the rest of the world. If this
place is not destroyed, not only your
people will perish, but so will our
people. Or worse, they will be en¬
“Then there is no question, is
there?” said Shama.
“But there is still hope for me,
while we live, that we may get out of
here, and spend years together,
among my people,” said Shama, look¬
ing at Leyson in a way that neither
L.eyson nor Horton could mistake.
“Or among my people,” said Ley-
son, who couldn’t quite approve of
the idea of spending the rest of his
life in the jungles, even for Shama.
T HE door opened again at this
juncture, and Von Glauber re¬
turned, this time with two under¬
“So, I’m too late, I see,” he said,
while both men held their breath,
wondering just how much he knew.
“It just occurred to me that your
lady friend would free you of your
bonds. Well, have you people made
up your minds?”
“Yeah. We’ll see you in Hell,” said
Von Glauber looked from one to
the other, as he edged closer to
“You two seem a lot more confident
than you did. Could this girl have
brought you . . . but no, she hasn’t
much of anywhere to hide anything.
No, she can’t have bettered your po¬
sition for you.”
Leyson took one of the vials out of
his pocket, held it up between a
thumb and forefinger.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Von
Glauber. Do you know what’s in this
little vial, and in the others I have
in my pocket?”
Von Glauber’s tanned face went
deadly pale. He backed away, hold¬
ing out his hands in protest. He
seemed unable to speak.
“Nitro, from your own magazine,”
“Not nitro,” said Glauber, scarcely
above a whisper. “Not nitro, but an
explosive invented by Grosboeck that
is ten times, twenty times as power¬
ful. For heaven’s sake, Leyson, be
He tossed the vial up into the air.
It turned over and over, and he
caught it easily on his palm. Von
Glauber almost screamed.
“No! No! Even the jar of strik¬
ing your hand may set it off, Leyson.
Listen to me. We can come to some
agreement. Be careful with that
stuff. Can’t you see it must be
stronger than nitro, or it wouldn’t be
in such small containers? Don’t do
anything rash, Leyson. We can make
a deal. I’ll give you every possible
“Including a break for freedom?”
said Horton, softly.
“How can I do that, and let you
tell your story before I am ready for
40 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
the world to know?” said Von Glau¬
“It seems,” said Leyson, “that it’s
you, and not us, that’s on a spot now.
Horton, get to the door, just in case
he makes a jump for it, and locks us
“That would do no good,” said Von
Glauber. “That thing in your hand
will open any door we’ve ever built!”
“Thanks for the info,” said Leyson.
“Open the door wide, Horton. After
you, Von Glauber. Send your two
pals out first, but slow!
Through the wide-open door came
the chattering of the countless ma¬
chines invented by Professor Gros-
“Get Grosboeck,” said Leyson to
Horton, “We’ll take the old boy un¬
der our wing.”
Horton raced to the owlish little
old man, all but dragged him to the
tense group at the door. Leyson
swiftly told him what had happened,
sketched what he hoped would hap¬
pen in the next few minutes. The
professor’s reaction caused Von
Glauber to sweat like a hippo.
“Gott sei dank!” said Grosboeck,
and there was no doubting his fer¬
vency. “Please let me explain to the
others here. It will be a so very
“Okay, Doc,” said Leyson, “pick
up your marbles!”
G ROSBOECK cried out exult¬
antly. One after the other
the clicking machines came
to a stop. Grosboeck, while Leyson
held the vials in his two hands, and
those near him who knew, held their
breaths, explained swiftly. The men
froze in their places as he spoke.
“Tell them to put their hands up,
Doc,” said Leyson. “Tell them to fall
in on the other side of that bunch of
tables in the middle of the floor.
What are those tables, anyway, Doc?”
“Controls,” said Grosboeck, “for
the new army of robots that were to
be used in building air fields and
“How many of those robots are
ready for operation?”
“Seventeen hundred and thirty of
“In one of the caves below this
“Has it any opening?”
“Yes. To the southeast, toward the
ruins of the old city.”
“Good. I'll tell you what to do
about them later. I’m sorry, Prof,
but I’m afraid all your fine work has
gone for nothing. Now, Von Glauber,
I’m going to destroy this place, lock,
stock and barrel. Line up your men
and get them out of here. And don’t
forget that I’ll be right behind you,
and that if I so much as stub my toe,
something will happen to the lot of
us. Get going.”
Von Glauber hesitated. Then he
stepped forward, his whole body
shaking to shout guttural commands
at his men.
“If he happens to be patriotic
enough to die for his country,” whis¬
pered Horton, “and doesn’t care how
many others die . . .”
“Take a look at his shaking knees.
Listen to his voice, Rog,” said Ley-
son, “and you won’t worry. I took a
chance on all that. Now, Professor
Grosboeck, you and my friend Hor¬
ton here, have a job to do.”
“Anything, sir, anything!” said
“Go all the way around the walls,
and set the apparatus so that your
robots will head right out into the
jungles. Leave the controls set so
that they’ll keep moving. . . .”
“But they’ll smash themselves to
bits against trees, if someone doesn’t
watch each one of them.”
“Which happens to be,” said Ley-
son, “the general idea. Okay, Hor¬
ton, you and the Professor, get going.
Now Von Glauber was looking at
Leyson. The man was in a blue funk.
He could not take his eyes off those
little vials in Leyson’s hands.
“Be careful with them!” he
“March out your men,” said Ley-
son. “I want you to take them down
Hear the mines. My friends and I
want to get back to our boat. Or per-
Dominion ★ ★ ★ 41
haps you have a better boat, hidden
“There is a gas boat, several miles
downstream, hidden in the under¬
brush. Enough gas in it to take you
a long way off.”
“Good. Now, march!”
Leyson waited at a far door, halt¬
ing Von Glauber and his men, until
Horton and the Professor had joined
them. The professor, his face gray
now, was moaning.
“My poor, senseless New People.
They could have been so useful to an
enlightened civilization. And I am
too old to begin again. They are bat¬
tering their poor metal brains out, in
“And we’re going to wipe out this
camp, besides,” said Leyson. “So it
can’t all start over again—at least not
“Will you trust me with one
of the vials?” asked Grosboeck. “I
am going to cooperate to the fullest
extent. I’ll stay behind and arrange
to blow up my precious laboratory.”
WMORTON and Leyson exchanged
JfM glances, gave one of the vials to
Then they followed Von Glauber
out of the laboratory, onto a promon¬
tory of stone.
“Call your men from the mines,
Von Glauber,” said Leyson. “Tell
them to face every last one of your
metal miners inward, into the mines,
and give them the juice.”
Von Glauber groaned. But he was
still shaking, and the faces of his men
were ashen. All eyes were on Ley-
son, and those vials of high explosive.
Von Glauber put a whistle to his
lips. Men came to the mouths of the
mines. Von Glauber barked at them
in German. Leyson heard their ex¬
clamations of consternation, but none
thought of disobeying Von Glauber
They turned back into the mines.
Then, after a minute or two, they
came running out. From the depths
of the mines came the most unearthly
sounds. The robots were battering
themselves to shattered junk at the
far ends of the tunnels.
“I don’t think I’d care to watch it,”
“Nor I,” said Leyson. “Just imag¬
ine what the other robots are doing,
over in the jungles. March, Von
“I can see them,” whispered Shama.
“The robots, I mean. I can see them,
hundreds and thousands of them,
crashing against trees like drunken
men, caroming off. . . .”
“Losing some of their works with
each carom,” said Horton grimly.
“Poor Grosboeck. I’ll bet it almost
broke his heart to send them out to
destroy themselves like that. I wish
he’d hurry up.”
“Yeah,” said Leyson, “so do I.”
“You men know very well he
doesn’t intend to come with us,” said
Shama. “Why pretend. He’s only
waiting for us to get safely away,
to . . .”
“Put yourself in his place, Shama,”
said Leyson softly. “In his place I’d
do as he wants to do. Only, I’d take
my time about it. Step out there,
Glauber! Make for that boat you told
The men under Von Glauber, joined
swiftly by white-faced men from the
mines, marched along the dim trail to
the platform of rock, slid down it to
a trail just above the gut of a stream,
followed it to the river.
“It isn’t big enough for all of us,”
said Von Glauber. “Besides, none of
us wants to go back to civilization.
You know what it means to us all?
We’ll be sent back home, and be
“I know that,” said Leyson. “I had
no intention of taking you out with
us. I just want you to show us where
the boat is.”
They stepped out faster and faster.
Now and again one or the other of
the men raised eyes to the sullen,
somber butte. In a moment the pro¬
fessor might finish the whole thing
off. But the minutes passed and he
“Maybe he’s crossed us,” said Hor-
“No,” said Leyson, “listen!”
T HE three stood, while the sol¬
diers marched on. From the
jungles beyond the dead city came a
grim, horrible jangling. There was
42 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
no mistaking its meaning. Gresboeek
had really sent his robots on such a
rampage as the jungles had never
The three moved on, Shama talk¬
My people will be crazy with fear,
seeing the robots running wild
through their hunting grounds.”
“Until they get up nerve enough to
go look at one of them that’s batted
all his spare parts out,” said Leyson.
“Then they’ll realize that their own
goddess is better medicine. Mean¬
time, we’ll make tracks out of here.
We may come back some day, but
it’ll be on a happier day than this.
You’ll go with me, Shama?”
She hesitated for many minutes, as
they walked along. Now and again
she looked off dotyn the river, off
through the jungles, and Leysen
could see that she hated to leave the
land she had lived in, and ruled, for
so long. When she looked back at
him her cheeks were wet with tears.
“They’ll be happier as they were
before my parents came,” she said.
“And I guess I’ve always really
wanted to see the land my people
Still no sound of an explosion came
from the laboratory. An hour passed,
and Von Glauber called a halt,
showed them the boat.
“Get her in the water, Von Glau¬
ber,” said Leyson. “Start the motor.
Then get back out of the way.”
Von Glauber barked a command.
The boat went into the water. A mo¬
ment later its motor began to bark.
“Food supplies?” said Leyson.
“Enough for three, for two weeks,”
said Von Glauber.
The three got into the motorboat,
Horton at the wheel. Leyson dropped
the bottles overside.
“You’d save them a great deal of
hardship, Zhack,” said Shama, “if you
threw one of those little bottles in
“How so, honey?”
“My people will not allow them to
live. Once they realize what has
been done to them, they will kill
them, one by one. They will execute
every last man.”
“Von Glauber,” said Leyson slowly.
“was here for the purpose of execut¬
ing everybody who opposed him. He
executed fifty of your people this
morning, maybe more. He would
have wiped them out. Poetic justice,
I’d say, that they wipe him out now.
I’m not sorry.
“I wonder what’s happened to
Grosboeck? Do we have to go back
and make sure?”
Even as Leyson spoke, the world
seemed to shake on its foundations.
Waves crashed out from the shaken
shore, almost upsetting the boat. The
whole top of the black butte hurtled
skyward, broke apart, fell back. The
earth trembled as though an earth¬
quake had occurred.
The motorboat described a crazy,
zigzag course downstream. The trio
finally lifted dizzy heads, looked
back. Where the butte had been
there seemed to be nothing but
the jungles, and the tops of the
trees were lashing as though a hurri¬
cane were passing overhead.
“That,” said Leyson, “is that. Now,
I hope none of your friends start
shooting darts and arrows at us.”
“They won’t,” said Shama, “while
I am with you.”
“Which,” retorted Leyson, “will be
a long, long time!”
The motorboat gathered speed,
keeping to the middle of an ever-
Suddenly Horton laughed.
“What’s eating you, Rog?” asked
“I was just picturing the faces of
the explorers of tomorrow, who come
into this section and start stumbling
over the ‘dead’ robots! Wondering
what stories about a ‘new race’ they’ll
take back to the world! It is funny,
you’ll have to admit that!"
But Leyson, thinking of the robots,
of the slaughtered Indians, of Gros-
boeck’s heroic departure from life, of
the slaughtered Indians, of Glauber,
could find nothing funny about it.
And Shama, hereafter, would find
in life only what Leyson did. Her
face, lifted to his whenever the idea
occurred to her that she would like to
be kissed again, was ample proof of
that. But it didn’t keep Roger Hor¬
ton from chuckling to himself.
★ INFILTRATION *
A cone of blue radiation fashed out and caught the animal. Great portion*
of the Eatet turned red and puffed into acrid smote, but still It came on .. .
By Clifford D. Simak
People didn't really believe that
those weird creatures in the
"Monsters From Mars" exhibit
were real. But Paul Lawrence,
county agricultural agent, won¬
dered. There seemed to be a
strange sickness attacking crops,
and livestock was being killed
mysteriously. Could the beasts be
real? Could a strange plague
have been imported horn Mars?
Then the monsters broke loose ...
( Constable chet new-
. TON polished his star with
his coat sleeve, shucked up
his trousers and started once again to
saunter the length of the midway at
the Brown county fair, keeping an
eagle eye cocked for disorder.
The barker in front of the “Mon¬
sters From Mars” tent was striking
up a new spiel.
“Right this way, ladies and gentle-
44 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
men,” he yodeled. “Right this way
for the greatest wonder of the world.
Animals actually brought back from
Mars. Living, breathing animals...”
“There ain’t never been nobody on
Mars,” yelled a heckler in the assem¬
bling crowd. “Nobody...”
The barker silenced him with im¬
perious gestures while the crowd
snickered and chortled in enjoyment.
“So you think no one has ever been
to Mars,” said the barker. “Mister,
your memory is awfully short. You
remember Steven H. Allen, don’t
you? The man who landed in Ari¬
zona in a rocket and said he had
been to Mars?”
"Sure,” yelped the heckler, “but he
was a fake. He was...”
The barker drew his face into
mournful lines, leaned over, assumed
a confidential tone.
“Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is
what the world called Steve Allen. A
fake! Learned professors examined
his rocket ship and labeled him a
fake. And the world took up the
cry. Fake, they yelled. Fake, fake
The barker’s voice rose and soared
...then again the confidential
“But Steve Allen was no fake. He
really went to Mars, despite what the
professors said. That is a fact the
world cannot shout down. And in¬
side this tent are the things that he
brought back... animals that he cap¬
tured on the red deserts of the an¬
cient planet Mars. Animals that are
alien to this world...”
Constable CLet Newton yawned.
All of this was old stuff to him. He
had been hearing it for hours. As
soon as the barker started his spiel
the planted heckler would show up
and shoot off his face. It went big
with the crowd. They ate it up.
There was nothing like an argument
to get a crowd together.
Chet gazed up at the canvas ban¬
ners that flapped before the tent. Oc¬
cupying the central position of hon¬
or was a larger banner portraying a
dragon-like beast with horns and fire¬
breathing nostrils, with a back that
looked like a picket fence and claws
that looked like scythes.
The barker was pointing at that
banner now and shouting:
“The Eater. So ferocious that mere
bars of steel will not hold him. But
you need not fear him, for we have
caged him in electricity.. .in a cage
of heavy netting through which flows
an electrical current. It is the only
thing he fears. Nothing else short of
armor plate would hold him. To sup¬
ply the heavy load of power which
we need, and so we do not have to
rely on regular power lines, we carry
generating equipment with stand-by
units ready at all times. We cannot
afford to take a chance. Listen to
He held up his hand and from the
tent came “put put put.”
“That is the engine running the
generating plant,” the barker ex¬
“Horse feathers,” blared a throaty
The barker jumped. Here was
something that wasn’t on the sched¬
“Who said that?” he demanded.
“I did,” yelled the voice. “I been
to your danged show six times and
I’m here to say it ain’t so wonderful.
Just a bunch of mangy animals...”
C HET NEWTON saw that it was
old Pop Hansen, drunk again.
Pop lived in a tar-paper shack on the
edge of the fair grounds and every
year he made himself a nuisance.
Chet started edging through the
“...I got better animals than that
in my little old shack,” clarioned Pop
in his whiskey tenor. “An’ I won’t
charge you nothin’ to see ’em. I got
a purple crocodile all staked out and
there are green rabbits runnin’ all
“The man is drunk,” yelled the
“You’re dang right I’m drunk,”
agreed Pop, “but I’m a better man
than you are, drunk or sober. I’ll
come up and fight you if you want
me to... ”
“You pipe down, Pop,” warned
Chet, who had wormed his way to
the old man’s elbow. “You pipe
down or I’ll heave you in the can.”
Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 45
“I’ll fight both of you,” screeched
Pop. ‘Til lick the ’tarnal...”
On the outside of the crowd some¬
one was yelling:
“What is it?” roared Chet.
“There’s a fight up at the cattle
barns,” yelled the man. “You gotta
get there and stop them before some¬
Chet charged through the crowd.
“Who is it?” he demanded.
“Abner Hill and Louie Smith,”
gasped the informant. “They’re going
after one another with pitch forks.”
“I knew it,” said Chet. “I knew
there’d be trouble there. Just as soon
as I saw Abner took the blue ribbon
on that bull of his’n, I knew there’d
be heU to pay. Louie had been brag-
gin’ all over how he was going to
get it this year.”
B UT by the time Chet arrived,
puffing from his run, the two
contestants had been separated. Jake
Carter, elderly and peppery publish¬
er of the Weekly Clarion, had
stopped the fight and was giving
them a talking to.
“You boys ought to be plumb
ashamed of yourselves,” he was tell¬
ing them, brandishing a pitch fork
at the two. “I have a good mind to
light into the both of you and whale
the living tar right out of you. Fight¬
ing over a blue ribbon.”
“Dagnab it,” said Abner, “Louie
“You should have reasoned with
him,” said Carter.
“You can’t reason with a pitch
fork, Jake,” said Abner. “You know
that as well as I do.”
“Listen, you two,” said Chet, still
panting, “you got to cut this out.
Any more of it and I’ll run you in.”
“He cheated me out of that rib¬
bon,” declared Louie. “The low-
down skunk got next to the judges.
I saw him downtown the other night,
setting up the drinks for them.”
“I don’t give a dang what he done,”
said Chet. “I’m here to uphold law
and order and, by cracky, I’m uphold¬
He shucked up his pants.
Carter stabbed the pitch fork in a
bale of hay.
“Long as you’re here,” he said to
Chet, “I’ll be getting along. You’d
ought to lock those two fellows up in
a cage and let them fight it out. May¬
be they’d get it out of their systems.”
Chet spat disgustedly. “They
wouldn’t fight with bare hands," he
said. “Only time they come to blows
is when one of them has a club or
Carter found Paul Lawrence, the
county agricultural agent, in the 4-H
“Pretty nice fair, Paul,” he said.
“Seems to me I can’t remember a
nicer one and I been writing up
Brown county fairs for almost 40
The county agent agreed. “Entry
list biggest on record. And the qual¬
ity of the stuff is finer than ever. I
only hope we don’t pick up any of
those diseases that are breaking out
down in Iowa and Nebraska.”
“Is there anything new on them?”
asked the editor.
The county agent shook his head.
“Thought at first it might be hoof
and mouth. Then thought it might be'
blackleg. But it isn’t either one.
They have corps of government men
down there, but they don’t seem to
be making much headway. Seems to
be spreading, too.”
“They’ll stop it,” declared Carter
confidently. “Other new diseases
have broken out from time to time
and they’ve always got them under
control before they spread too far.
Tough on the folks down in those
sections, though.” -
“Yeah, it is,” said Lawrence. “By
the way, how are your roses?”
Carter’s chest stuck out. “Better
than ever. Grew some new varieties
this year. Walked away with all the
prizes at the show.”
“I noticed that.”
“Yes, sir,” said the editor, “soon as
I can get away from this danged pa¬
per of mine I’m going to settle down
to growing roses. Nothing more in¬
teresting than a rose...no sir, noth¬
ing more interesting...
Benny Short leaned his elbows on
the counter of his shooting gallery
46 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
concession and glowered at the
“Monster of Mars” tent.
“How’s business, Benny?” asked
the dwarf from the freak show two
“Ain’t bad,” said Benny. “All these
yokels think they can shoot. Some of
them can, too, but not with the
sights I have on these rifles. Can’t
nobody hit anything the way I got
those sights fixed.”
“You look kinda frazzled,” com¬
mented the dwarf.
“I am frazzled,” agreed Benny.
“All wore down to the quick. I ain’t
had a night’s sleep in God knows
“Conscience bothering you?”
“Not my conscience. It’s that
damn engine the Martian people
have. Claim they use it to run their
generator. Just props, that’s all.
Props. Something to get the yokels’
interest. But why do they have to
run it all night long, I ask you?
Night and day it goes. Put, put, put.
I haven’t closed an eye.”
He speared a finger at the dwarf.
“You know what I got a damn
good notion to do. I got a notion
I’m going in there some night and
smash that engine all to hell.”
“Now you’re talking,” said the
dwarf. "Folks probably would hand
you a medal for it. Them Martians
have the rest of them all burned up.
Taking all the business. And just a
fake, too. Who’d thi ik anyone would
fall for a thing like that. And while
they’re packing ’em in, look at us.
A good honest freak show and we
haven’t had a full house for weeks.”
I NSIDE the Monsters of Mars tent
the barker was closing one of his
He had gotten to Dopey.
“And this is Dopey. You can see
why we call him that. He sleeps all
the time... or seems to sleep. He
doesn’t eat much.. .just takes it
easy all day long...”
Dopey, a small round ball of fur,
uncurled slightly inside his glass
cage and opened one eye. The eye
was a surprise. It was red and vi¬
cious and sparkled with rage.
“He’s always sore when someone
wakes him up,” the barker said.
He led the way to another glass
cage where rested a thing that resem¬
bled nothing quite so much as a prai¬
rie tumbleweed. Even in the cage,
which had little, if any air motion, it
was on the go...floating and bump¬
ing about, never quiet, never still.
“This is the Tumbler,” said the
barker. “A bundle of nerves. An
ideal form of life for open deserts.
Even the slight winds of Mars will
blow it many hundred miles a day.
We had three of them to start with
but this is the only one left. Even
our utmost care has failed to keep
“Despite the fact that these cages
simulate Martian conditions, the
Tumbler does not seem to thrive in
close confinement. To live he needs
the wide expanses of his Martian
home. We have drained the cages
of air until they are almost a vacuum,
we have introduced ozone, we have
lowered the temperature. We have
tried to create for the Tumbler the
exact conditions of his natural habi¬
tat, but still he isn’t satisfied. He
wants to roam...”
And now the crowd stood before
the cage of the Eater, a mighty beast
of dirty yellow, with razor claws and
terrible fangs and sharp, wicked
horns. His back was saw-toothed,
like the backs of some of the old
dinosaurs of Earth, and there was a
metallic sheen to his hide.
“A siliceous form of life,” said the
barker. “Formed of silica instead of
carbon. Possibly he is the sole sur¬
vivor of some Martian type of long
ago. He alone of ail Martian animals
needs no conditioning to live on
Earth. He could live anywhere.”
The Eater coughed boomfngly and
stuck out a mighty taioned claw to¬
ward the glowing net that fenced
him in, then cautiously withdrew it.
He’d touched that net before.
Benny Short cautiously raised the
edge of the tent at <he rear of the
Martian show. The interior was
dark... dark except for a strange
flicker of radiance from the operating
No one seemed to be there in the
Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 47
dark. Except for the engine, every¬
thing was quiet.
The last of the lights had gone out
on the midway fronts. The crowd
had gone home. From far away came
the droning of a car.
Benny hitched forward easily,
drew himself inside. Crouching, he
reached a hand under the canvas,
hauled in a heavy sledge. Still
crouching, he weighted it in his
“I’ll get some sleep tonight,” he
said softly, grinning in the darkness.
F DOT by foot he made his way
forward, took a stance before
the dimly seen machine. Easily he
slung up the sledge, heaved it high
above his head, smashed it down.
There was a brittle crash as if the
engine had been shattered into
shards. The strange flicker of radi¬
ance flared and mounted, seeming to
come from nowhere... and suddenly
was a sheet of brilliance that for an
instant silhouetted the concession¬
aire and his sledge against the can¬
vas background and then, as he
turned to flee, reached out and
In the front part of the tent the
Eater jerked to stark attention, saw
the flame flicker and die in the net
With a cough of triumph he lunged
at the netting. It parted and he
plowed onward, snapped off a tent
pole, ripped through the canvas wall,
trotted cockily down the center of
Chet Newton, making his final
rounds before he went home, saw
the thing coming toward him, hauled
frantically at the old six-shooter in
The first shot missed. The second
struck the beast. Chet knew it struck
him. He heard it strike and ricochet
wickedly off into the night. He fired
again and again, the bullets sliding
off the gleaming coat and screaming
out over the fairgrounds.
With a yelp of panic, Chet fled.
He tore his way up the embankment
to the race course, spurted swiftly
for the grandstand. Halfway there,
he stopped and looked back.
There was no sign of the Eater.
Sitting on the steps of his tar-pa¬
per shack, Pop Hansen had just fin¬
ished one bottle of moonshine, was
reaching under the steps to get
Then came the sound of shots
down on the fairgrounds. He pricked
up his earsr
“Some sort of ruckus down there,”
he hiccoughed. He essayed to rise
from the steps, lost his balance and
“Oh, well,” he pronounced judi¬
ciously, “I’ve had enough fun for
He groped anxiously for the bot¬
tle, finally found it and hauled it
With a crash the fairgrounds’
fence came down and the Eater came
through. He just grazed the tar¬
paper shack and went on into the
woods, taking down a couple of
trees that stood in his way.
Eyes staring glassily, Pop solemn¬
ly replaced the bottle, still unopened.
“When they get that big,” he told
himself regretfully, “it’s time to quit
Constable Newton was in Sheriff
Alf Tanner’s office, telling him what
had happened, when the man burst
into the office.
“I’m the owner of the Monsters
from Mars show out at the fair,” he
gasped. “The Eater is loose!”
“So Chet’s been telling me," said
“My name,” said the man, “is Wil¬
liam F. Howard. I got here as quick
as I could. The animal is dangerous.
We have to round it up...”
The sheriff eyed him suspiciously.
“Just what kind of an animal is
“ ’Tain’t no animal from Mars,” de¬
clared Chet. “That’s just a lot of
hokum. No one’s ever been to Mars.”
“No, of course,” said Howard. “It’s
not an animal from Mars. But it
really is a most extraordinary animal.
From Patagonia. A friend of mine
secured it for me. Probably it’s a
survival from the age of dinosaurs.
There’s some wild country down
“That sounds fishy to me,” said
48 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
Chet. “Seems if it was a sur... a
surv...well, whatever you said it
was, that some museum or zoo would
have got it instead of you.”
“What difference does it make?”
raged Howard. “Here we stand ar¬
guing when we should be trying to
The telephone rang, sharply, per¬
The sheriff picked it up.
“Sheriff speaking,” he said, in his
best dignity-of-office voice,
A high-pitched woman’s voice cut
into the room.
“This is Mrs. Jones. Over on the
old Blackburn place. You gotta get
right over here, Sheriff. Something’s
out in the barnyard trying to tear
down the barn. It’s already gone
through the chicken house. Some¬
thing big and awful. Tommy’s gone
out with a gun, though I tried to
keep him in...”
“I’ll be right out,” the sheriff
He wheeled from the phone.
“It’s over at Tommy Jones’ place,”
he said. “We got to get a hustle on.
Chet, you get the machine gun and
let’s get going...”
IgteUT when they got there the
.M V thing was gone. It had left the
place a shambles. One side was
ripped out of the barn and inside a
dozen milch cows and three horses
were slumped in their stanchions and
stalls. The animals were dead. They
looked like punctured balloons. Each
bore a single wound.
The pigs, in their pasture, were
the same and all about the barnyard
lay the fluffy rags of feathers that
once had been chickens.
Mrs. Jones was wailing and wring¬
ing her hands.
“All my best pullets,” she
screamed. “And I worked so hard
to raise them. Chasing them in and
out of the rain so they wouldn’t
drown and fixing up the coops so the
skunks couldn’t get at them.”
“I’m going to have the law on
somebody for this,” stormed Jones.
“I’m going to find out where that
thing came from and I’m going to
make somebody pay...”
“The animal is mine,” said How¬
ard. “It escaped from my show up
at the fairgrounds. I’m sure we can
reach some settlement.”
“You bet we’ll reach some settle¬
ment,” Jones ranted. “How would
you like a bunch of knuckles right
smack in the puss?”
“Cut it out, Tommy,” commanded
Sheriff Alf. “Mr. Howard has told
you he would pay. What more do
“I’m going into town with you,”
said Jones. I’m going to slap an in¬
junction on his show. I’m going to
fix it so he can’t move a foot until
he’s paid me every dime he owes me.
Look at that barn. Cost a couple,
three hundred bucks to fix that up
“And don’t forget my pullets.
Tommy,” wailed Mrs Jones.
The sheriff was nodding with
weariness when morning came.
It had been a strenuous night.
They -had tracked the Eater across
three stubble fields, through a field
of corn in which he had left a broad,
unmistakable path. Then the trail
had led into Kinney swamp. After
floundering through the muck and
mud for two hours, they finally had
lost the tracks and given up.
Now the wires were humming, call¬
ing for help from the state capital.
The newspapers at Minneapolis had
besieged the sheriff with calls. The
Associated Press and United Press
The sheriff mopped his brow and
glared at the telephone, daring it to
Feet pounded in the hall outside
and Abner Hill stalked into the of¬
“Howdy,” said Sheriff Alf. “What
gets you up so early, Abner?”
Abner was fit to be tied. The sher¬
iff could see that.
“I want you to go out and haul in
Louie Smith,” he snapped.
“Now, wait,” said the sheriff. “I
can’t do that without no warrant. I
know you fellows had a set-to up at
the fair the other day, but you
“He poisoned my bull,” stormed
Abner. “The bull is dead...dead of
Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 49
poisoning and there ain’t nobody but
Louie could have done it. He’s sore
because I got that blue ribbon after
he’d bragged all over the county he
was going to get it.”
“How do you know Louie did it?”
“Stands to reason he did. Nobody
else is sore at me. And someone
poisoned that bull.”
The telephone snarled at the sher¬
“Hello. What now?”
“This is Paul Lawrence, Sheriff,”
came the voice of the county agent.
“Something’s funny out at the cattle
barns. Somebody has poisoned a lot
“Abner Hill is here now,” said the
sheriff. “Says his prize bull was poi¬
soned. Seems to think Louie Smith
might have done it.”
“Couldn’t have been Louie,” ar¬
gued the county agent. “Because his
bull is dead, too.”
“All right,” said the sheriff. “I’ll
T HE phone rang again. “Well,
what do you want?” Sheriff Alf
“This is Chet. Seems we been
missing something. We got a mur¬
der on our a hands.”
“Yep. Dead feller in the Martian
tent. Burned black as a boot. Pretty
nigh scorched to a cinder. He’s lay¬
ing alongside some busted machin¬
ery. Looks like he might have bust¬
ed it himself. Sledge hammer right
“Who is he?”
“Don’t know. But the jasper next
door to the tent, the feller that ran
the shooting gallery, is missing.
Might be him. And that’s not all...”
“No, it ain’t. There aren’t any ani¬
mals in them cages. Just little heaps
of ashes. And I found some
“Of course,” said the sheriff.
“Show people live out of trunks.”
“But just you wait till you hear
what I found in them. One of them
was filled with a whole hell’s slew of
little bottles... the kind doctors car¬
ry around with them...”
“That’s it... that’s what they are.
And all of them are filled with
messy-looking stuff. Another trunk
was just oozing with bugs. All kinds
of bugs. Packed away, neat and snug,
in little compartments.”
“Well, I’ll be damned,” said the
sheriff. “What would anyone be
wanting with that many bugs?"
“Search me,” said Chet. “Maybe
you better come up and have a look
for yourself. Maybe you could get
Joe Saunders, over at the garage, to
come up with you. Joe might know
what kind of a machine the dead fel¬
ler smashed. Sort of funny-looking
“O. K.,” said the sheriff, hanging
“And this was the day,” he said to
himself, “that I was going fishing.”
Night had fallen. The sheriff sat
with his feet up on his desk, hat
pulled over his eyes, snores issuing
from under it.
Chet was playing solitaire.
Feet clumped swiftly up the stairs
and into the corridor. Paul Law¬
rence rushed into the office, a map
clutched in his hand.
“Hey, Alf!” he yelled. “Wake up.
I got an idea!”
The sheriff’s feet clopped off the
desk and onto the floor. He snatched
his hat off his face and blinked.
“Dang it,” he complained, “can’t
you leave me alone? Seems like I
ain’t had a minute’s peace for days.
Newspapermen and crime bureau
men swarming all over the place, pes¬
tering a fellow.”
“But look here,” said the county
agent. “Just take a look at this map.”
He spread it on top of the desk. It
showed the middle western states.
Across it a red line snaked across
Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minne¬
sota. Several towns were ringed
“Can’t make head nor tail of it,”
said the sheriff, squinting with sleep-
rimmed eyes. “Are you sure you’re
feeling all right, Paul?”
“Certainly I am,” said the county
agent. “That red line is the route
travelled by the carnival, the outfit
up at the fairgrounds. Those town**
50 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
circled in red are where the diseases
have started. Look, Junction City, in
Kansas. Disease has wiped out al¬
most all of the livestock there. The
wheat is ruined by strange fungi.
Insects are playing hell with the
fruit and corn.”
H IS finger ran along the red
“See, we jump all these towns
where the carnival played until we
reach Sabetha, then up into Nebraska,
skipping towns until we come to
Nebraska City. At both of these
places the same thing happened as
at Junction City. Then over into
“Wait a minute,” yelped the sher¬
iff. “Maybe you got something there.
You think the same thing is happen¬
The county agent’s face was grim.
“I know it is. Almost all the live¬
stock at the fair is dead. One man
took his cattle home in a hurry this
morning, figuring he might save
them. His whole herd is sick now.
He was just in to see me. He’s
afraid he’s going to lose everything
“And this morning Jake Carter
came in, madder than a wet hen. He’d
found some funny kind of bugs on
his roses. I sent him to St. Paul
with some of them. Thought maybe
the University Farm boys up there
might be able to identify them.”
“And you think the carnival has
something to do with it?”
Lawrence slapped the map with
the back of his hand.
“It’s all there, Alf. It hasn’t hap¬
pened every place the carnival has
been, but every place it has happened
the carnival has played. There could
be a connection.. .1 think there is.”
Chet dropped his cards and came
over to the table.
“Might be something to it, Sher¬
iff,” he said. “Remember them bugs
I found in the trunk. And those
phials might have been cultures. Dis¬
“Grab that chap who was running
the Mars show,” suggested the coun¬
ty agent, “and you might find out
“Grab him!” yelled the sheriff.
“What do you think I been trying
to do all day? We ain’t seen hide
nor hair of him since this morning.
After we got back from chasing that
critter of his’n he stepped out. Said
he was going to get a cup of coffee.
We ain’t seen him since.”
“It sure looks screwy to me,” said
Chet. “Why, even that machinery in
the tent. Supposed to be an engine
and a generator, least ways that’s
what he told the customers. A gen¬
erator to supply juice to keep the
Eater caged. But Joe Saunders
looked it over, what was left of it,
and he says it ain’t like no generator
he ever saw before. In fact, Joe says
it ain’t like anything he ever saw
The phone rang. The sheriff
reached for it.
“It’s you, Paul. Long distance.
Jake calling. Girls over at Central
must have figured you would be
The county agent picked up the
“Hello,” he said. “That you,
Jake? What did you find out?”
“I got them running around in cir¬
cles,” said the editor. “They can’t
believe their eyes. Say they never
saw nothing like them bugs. They
say...” he lowered his voice.. .“they
say that if they didn’t know it was
impossible they’d believe those bugs
came from another planet. They
don’t fit in with nothing ever found
on earth. They been trying...”
Central’s voice cut in. “Sorry.
Would you mind? An urgent call
for the sheriff.”
“Certainly not,” said Paul. “It’s
for you, Alf.”
The sheriff took it.
“Sheriff,” yelled the voice. “This
is Louie Smith. Hell’s broke loose
out here. That Martian animal just
went through my barnyard like a
whirlwind through a strawstack.
Didn’t miss a single thing. And now
there’s something going on down in
the south forty. Funny calls. Like
nothing no one’s ever heard before.
Makes a man’s blood run cold to lis¬
“You stay inside, Louie,” shouted
Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 51
the sheriff. “Just stick tight. We’ll
be there soon as four wheels can get
T HE calls in the south forty were
enough to chill one’s blood. Ut¬
terly weird, they ululated into the
star-sprinkled sky, seemed filled with
all the rage and terror that the world
had ever known. And there was
about them an unearthliness that
made a man’s teeth chatter and
chilled the marrow in his bones.
Chet cuddled the sub-machine gun
against his chest as they advanced
across the field.
“Just let me get one crack at what-
ever’s making all that hullabaloo,”
he said, “and I’ll guarantee I’ll pipe
it down. Did you ever hear such
God-awful goings-on in all your
“You shut your trap, Chet,”
warned the sheriff. “Don’t want to
scare it off.”
The dreadful wailing rose again,
this time with a sinister and insistent
The sheriff hissed a warning. A
tree-studded knoll stood at the lower
end of the field and the sheriff point¬
ed at it.
A man stood on the knoll, outlined
against the rising moon.
The men in the field crouched and
watched. The man stood motionless
and from the direction of the knoll
came the alien caterwauling.
“Do you suppose he could be doing
that?” whispered the county agent.
From the lower edge of the field
something was advancing toward the
knoll. Serrated back and twin horns
bobbed and weaved as the creature
trotted forward. White teeth shone
viciously in the moonlight and the
hide of the thing seemed to strike
sparks where the moon beams hit it.
Chet raised the gun to his shoul¬
der. “Shall I let him have it, sheriff?”
“Wait,” said the sheriff. “It’s the
Eater. We want to make sure of
The Eater was climbing the knoll
now and the man still stood there,
although the calls had ceased.
“Why doesn’t the damn fool run?”
cried the county agent.
But instead of running the man
was walking down the knoll toward
the Eater and to the ears of the wait¬
ing men came soft, -ooing calls, the
kind of talk a kind man reserves
for his animals. As if the Eater
might have been a pet the man was
trying to coax home.
Both the man and • the Eater
stopped, only a few yards separating
them, the man still making the coax¬
ing, affectionate sounds. The Eater
pawed the ground, arched his back.
The man moved forward slowly,
hands outstretched, still talking to
And then the Eater charged. The
man turned, started to run, tripped
Chet was running forward, yelling,
the gun pressed against his hip. The
sheriff and county agent followed.
They saw the man flip over, roll
away from the charge and struggle
to his knees. The Eater skidded to
turn, was charging back. But the
man had something in his hand, was
aiming it at the Eater. A cone of
blue radiance lashed out and caught
the animal. Great portions of the
Eater turned red and puffed into
acrid smoke. The blue cone still
bore at the beast but it still came on.
The night echoed to the thud as
the battering ram of a head caught
the man and tossed him. Strange
rasping, tearing sounds ensued as the
Eater reared and trampled the fallen,
There was no outcry from the bat¬
tered figure on the ground, no sound
of rage from the attacking Eater...
just those terrible rending sounds as
gleaming hoofs raced and smashed.
B UT the dull red glow set by the
blue cone spread upon the Eat¬
er’s body, spread like swiftly creep¬
ing fire.. .although there was no
smell of burning flesh. . .merely acrid
smoke that steamed and eddied above
the knoll, rising into the clear blue
of the night.
Charging up the slope, the three
men saw the Eater stagger away
from the mangled body, slump into a
heap of something that looked for
52 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
all the world like a heap of molten
The man was stretched on the
ground, body ripped apart, skull
cracked open. One arm, torn from
its socket, lay yards away. One leg
was twisted off at the knee.
And out of the broken skull came
something... something that was
black and loathesome and many
armed. Something that stared at the
three with terrible eyes of angry red.
For one long moment it watched
them, then slowly crawled back into
the skull again. The man's body
writhed and twisted, finally gained a
sitting position. The jaw moved
slowly, awkwardly. Distorted sounds
came out of the wagging jaws, sounds
that tried to be words and failed.
Then the body flopped down again
and the loathesome thing scuttled
from the smashed brain case. It dart¬
ed rapidly away, moving like a fur¬
tive crawfish, a terrible, repulsive
alien thing that made one’s gorge rise
by the very sight of it.
Chet’s gun snapped to his shoulder
and the field and woods reverberated
with its yammering. The black
thing thrashed and bounced to the
impact of the bullets and then lay
The sheriff turned angrily on the
constable. “Damn you, Chet, what
did you do that for?”
Chet lowered the gun and stared at
the thing with revulsion on his face.
“It gave me the creeps,” he said.
The county agent said: “Perhaps
it’s better that he did.”
“What do you mean by that?” de¬
manded the sheriff.
“Take a look at that body...the
man’s body, I mean. Do you recog¬
The sheriff looked. The moon
shone full upon the broken features.
“Howard!” exclaimed the sheriff.
“William F. Howard. The owner of
the Martian show!”
The sheriff’s jaw hung slack. “Paul,
it can’t be that! It was all just a
fake. Nobody’s ever been to Mars!”
“Perhaps not,” said the county
agent. “But that doesn’t mean the
Martians haven’t come to Earth.”
The thing seemed less plausible,
more fantastic, back in the sheriff’s
lights. ..but the proof was there.
“Examine that body,” said the
county agent. “A clever thing of
steel and plastics. Intricate machin¬
ery in it, too. Until a few hours ago
it passed for a man who called him¬
self William F. Howard. You talked
to him, Sheriff. And so did Chet.
He fooled you both. He fooled ev¬
eryone he talked to. Everyone
thought he was a man. And yet he
wasn’t...he was just a machine to
house that filthy thing Chet killed,”
The sheriff wiped his brow. “Do
you really think that thing was a
Martian, Paul? That the show really
was a Martian show?”
“Perhaps,” said the county agent.
“If it was it was a clever way to mas¬
querade. Announce yourself as some¬
thing grotesque enough, impossible
enough and you can be that thing
and no one will believe you.”
“But look here,” Chet broke in,
“what would them Martians be doing
traipsing all over with a show? If
they wanted us to believe they were
Martians they could have gone to
some of these here professors and
proved it and if they didn’t want us
to believe it...”
T HE county agent shook his head
wearily. “Who can tell how an
alien brain would work? Or what
purposes an alien brain might hold?
Looking at it the way a human being
would look at it, a fifth column
might be the answer. A fifth column
from Mars.. .trying to soften Earth
up before they took us over. That
would fit. Enough diseases, enough
strange insects removed from their
natural enemies, enough fungi would
do the trick. They could starve us
out...have us beaten before the first
war-rocket blasted off from Mars.
“Perhaps they would wipe out
some Earth species with their dis¬
eases and their insects, establish
some of their own on Earth. Most
of them probably couldn’t adapt
themselves to Earth conditions, but
some of them could. Given time, the
Martians could transform parts of
Earth into a little Mars.. .weeding
Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 53
out Earth life, replacing it with
Martian life. Even now we can’t be
sure. Maybe the work is further
progressed than we can guess. May¬
be some of our unwanted, noxious
plants really may be Martian
Chet shucked up his pants and
“You’re plumb batty,” he declared.
“I didn’t say that is what hap¬
pened,” explained the county agent.
“I said that was what might have
happened. That would form a logi¬
cal human explanation. But possibly
it isn’t the human explanation that
we want. From the Martian view¬
point... if Howard was a Martian...
the explanation might be something
entirely different. Probably would
be. We are dealing with a thing be¬
yond our depth.”
“There’s something wrong, you can
bet your eye teeth on that,” an¬
nounced the sheriff. “Something
that needs a whale of a lot of ex¬
plaining. Take that there Eater...”
“An animal formed of silicon in¬
stead of carbon,” said the county
agent. “Probable, not very possible
.. .but there it was. All three of us
saw what happened to it. We know
it wasn’t flesh and blood. We know
it wasn’t something that belonged to
Earth. It, alone, if nothing else,
should convince us that we’re dealing
with something alien, something
from out in space.
"That blue cone that set the Eater
on fire is another thing. Looks a lot
like a flashlight. Something like a
gun, too. But it isn’t either one. The
scientists will have a holiday with
it, if they den’t kill themselves tak¬
ing it apart.
“Then there were the other ani¬
mals. Too bad we haven’t got them.
They might give us some more data
to go on. But Howard apparently
destroyed them when he knew the
jig was up. He was afraid that,
examined closely enough, they might
give him away. And the machine in
the tent. Joe was right. It couldn’t
have been a generator.. .at least not
the kind of generator we know. Prob¬
ably was used to keep the Eater
caged, but just how it worked, we
“What I can’t figure out,” said the
sheriff, “is why Howard or the thing
that was Howard... tried to make up
to the Eater. He must have known
it was dangerous. But he took the
chance.. .there must have been a rea-
The county agent shook his head.
“Undoubtedly there was. Maybe the
Eater was his pet. A man will risk
his life to help a dog he loves. But,
again, we don’t know. We’re trying
to apply human logic to alien mo¬
“Look here,” challenged Chet, “if
all this stuff you been dreaming up
is true, what are we going to do
“Notify the proper authorities,”
snapped the sheriff. “The state crime
bureau. Maybe even the FBI by
“That’s right,” agreed the county
agent. “We’ll have to watch. From
now on, Earth can’t take chances.
There may be others. Perhaps not
masquerading as road shows, but in
other ways. For what purpose we
cannot be sure except that it bodes
no good for Earth. Fifth column.
Infiltration. Illegal immigration.
Call it what you will. It has to be
checked. We have to watch...we
can’t take anything for granted any¬
more. Lord knows how long this has
been going on...how many calam¬
ities really have been due to the work
of things like these.”
Chet shuddered. “So help me, you
got me goose pimples all over. I’ll
never feel safe again.”
Slow feet shuffled toward the door.
The three men tensed. Pop Hansen
stumbled into the room. His liquor-
muddled face stared at them.
“Say,” he blurted, “any of you
guys seen this feller that has the
The sheriff bristled.
“What do you want of him?”
“Thought maybe I’d make a little
“A little deal?”
The old drunkard blinked.
“Yeah, a deal. I got a candy-
As this issue of SCIENCE
FICTION STORIES goes to
press, the war draws ever
more close to home, for all
Americans. We've all heard
about total war, but now
those of us who are not in
active military duty are be¬
ginning to get an inkling of
what the phrase means. lust
beginning. We'll have a bet¬
ter idea, from first-hand experience, by the end of 1943.
But now, more than ever before, we can see what it means to live in a
democracy. In all lands, war has meant sacrifices on the part of everyone.
We have heard how the Germans, Italians, and Japanese have had to take
sacrifices—we do it differently, here.
Recently publishers have been asked to accept a cut in the amount of paper
they use. Asked, mind you. Can you imagine Messers Schicklegruber, Mus¬
solini, or Hirohito asking publishers if they minded taking a curtailment for
the sake of conservation?
With SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, this curtailment means that we will
not be able to add those extra pages you have been asking for. But we're
doing the next best thing; we're using a smaller type-face than before, thus
adding to the number of words per page, and we're having the lines of type
set a little more closely together. That, also, adds wordage.
But the war has hit publications on other fronts than merely that of paper;
individual costs have risen to such an extent that we are forced to raise the
price of this magazine to 20c per copy. We don't like it any moro than you
But the thing to remember is: despite the
fact that we are engaged in a life-and-death
struggle for the preservation of our way of
living, America can afford to continue the pro¬
duction of a majority of its popular fiction
And anyone who has existed under totali¬
tarian rule can tell you that this is no small
ROBERT W. LOWNDES.
* BLACKOUT * *
By Bamoii Knight
Now if some of Mr. Charles Fort's notions are right ....
THE girl's cigarette glowed in the
I dark, throwing her delicate, child¬
like features into ephemeral relief. The
boy leaned back against the park
bench and watched her, noticing with
tolerant amusement the cautious way
she drew on it, not inhaling — like a
little girl drinking a soda through a
He smiled possessively and flipped
his own cigarette into the night, watch¬
ing the swift, fiery trail it made and
the tiny shower of sparks as it struck
the path and extinguished itself. He
looked up just in time to see a meteor
fall half down the sky and then wink
"Strange," he said musingly. "We
know so little, really, about — the
"The stars?" she echoed.
"Yes. We see them every night of
our lives, if we look for them; sailors
navigate by them; astronomers study
them — and yet we really have no
idea at all about what they actually
"They're balls of fire, aren't they
—'way out in space?"
"That's what a scientist will tell you
—but how do we know the scientists
are right? You've never read the books
of Charles Fort—neither have I, if it
comes to that, but I've read about
them. Fort had a theory that the stars
are actually much nearer than the sci¬
entists think. And as to what they are
—what they're made of—how do we
know? How does anybody know?"
THE WARDEN turned as his friend
I Swift soared toward his lonely out¬
post. "It's quiet tonight," the other
'It is," the Warden returned. "But
we've got to keep a lookout just the
same. No telling what deviltry they'll
cook up." He revolved slowly, scan¬
ning the endless expanse which was
the home of his people. Far off in the
distance, the nearest populated center
glowed, its myriad light-motes clus¬
tered in elfin configurations. In every
other direction there was only black¬
ness for thousands of light-years; black¬
ness from which they would strike, if
they came; descending on the scat¬
tered cities in vast, deadly hordes.
"But don't worry about it," he added.
"Like as not they won't come at all.
Our boys haven't been idle—they've
been keeping them pretty busy oh the
second front, if all we hear is true.
How's your son. Swift?"
"Still in Basic Training. He's doing
fine, though, especially in the Cos-
mics. He expects to be sent to active
duty in another three or four units."
"Fine, fine. Wish 7 could go. But
there's not much we old duffers can
do, except watch for raids and train
the young ones. When a man's radia¬
tions get down into the ultra-violet,
there's no place for him in the army."
They hovered together for a while
in companionable silence. Swift gazed
curiously as motion caught his eye far
out in space; started, and looked again.
"Look!" he cried. "Those aren't our
carriers, are they?"
The Warden whirled. "Where?" A
group of violet, attenuated, sinister
shapes was swiftly approaching them,
far away now, but coming closer.
"First Cause! It's them!"
"Sound the alarm!"
The Warden stiffened, and his ener¬
gies reached out toward the city in
the distance. "Raiders approaching
from seventh octant; bearing 4377-0.
Warning; Raiders approaching—"
And on Earth, on a bench in Central
Park in the fragrant, spring night, a
girl gasped and then screamed hor¬
ribly, hopelessly, as if she would never
stop screaming, as the stars, group by
group, winked abruptly out across the
unhuman face of the sky.
THE 99 44/100%
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"Marzerth is out to keep their monopoly by using ancient gang¬
ster-terrorism against all competitors. They've murdered our
best men, and now just kidnapped your daughter, Cheever. And
don't think they're bluffing in what they say they'll do to her if
you don't give in. But there's one thing that Hammond has over¬
looked — one way to fight Marzerth and beat it. And, believe
it or not, Cheever, it's a problem in ethics!"
★ By Henry Ilnttner -k
T HEY found young Seton
huddled under a bench on one
of the cross-town movable
ways. He’d been beaten up thorough¬
ly. His face was pulp. His eyes had
been gouged out. He managed to
talk a little before he died, but he
couldn’t name his murderers. They
were hired thugs from the outlands,
some hell-hole on Lower Venus or
the Martian badlands.
People who read the newstapes that
evening were sickened, horrified, and
frightened. Violence in the twenty-
first century was unusual—so much
so that there simply wasn’t any po¬
lice organization any more. With
the abolition of wars after the Big
Smash, the world had settled down to
doing things the right way. It
seemed to work. Eventually capital
punishment was erased from the
books. Traffic guards had paralyzers,
set to such a low notching that they
didn’t even paralyze.
Hiram Gale, who was a physicist
with Commerce, Inc., went to see the
big boss, Cheever. Gale breezed in
looking malignant and angry, a scowl
on his wry, wrinkled face, and a bit¬
ter gleam in his faded eyes.
He started things off by swearing
at Cheever, who didn’t do anything
more than shrug.
“Well,” the boss said, biting his
lips, “I’m sorry, Hiram. But I can’t
bring him back to life, can I?”
“Blasted jellyfish,” Gale said. “I
only wish I had two good legs.” He
dropped into a chair and let his
crutches drop. “You’re husky enough,
Jay, and you’re still young. Why
don’t you do something about this
“Seton was one of my best men.
He isn’t the first. There’ve been
others. And not only here—all over
the System. Pioneers who wanted
to change to our new atomic fuel
gadgets. What happens to them?
Beaten up—or murdered I”
Cheever said weakly, “It isn’t
worth it, Hiram. Why not let Mar¬
zerth keep their monopoly—”
Gale’s eyes went darkly cold.
“Those filthy, murdering swine!”
“Sure, they’ve got the strangle-hold
on fuel for Marzerth energizers—and
they want to keep it. Even though
those energizers cost so damn much
only the rich can afford ’em—un¬
less they’re leased at an exorbitant
percentage from Marzerth! Which
means peonage on the other planets,
mister. Secondly, the energizers are
dangerous. There’ve been more ex¬
Cheever sighed. “I know, I know.
Our Atoma device is fool-proof,
cheap, and plenty effective. Only
we can’t get it on the market.”
Gale said icily, “Why? Because
we’re not fighting!”
“You’re crazy! War? Good heavens,
Hiram—d’you want to turn back the
clock a century?”
“If necessary. The Marzerth peo¬
ple have no place in this era. They’re
anachronisms. They’ve gone back to
Nazi gangster ideology for their
methods. They’re succeeding, too,
because the worlds have forgotten
how to fight.”
“Fighting is profitless. That’s
“It hasn’t. Not to my satisfaction,
“This isn’t your pie,” Cheever said.
“Why mix up in it?”
^"^ALE sneered. I haven’t been
WW neglecting my work, if that’s
what you mean—”
“Of course it isn’t! You know
“I’ve been fooling around with
more than one experimental gadget.
My temporal theories are working
out; that teleportation formula is
proving interesting, and—but the hell
with such junk. I’m talking about
Marzerth. What are you going to
“There’s nothing I can do!”
“Indeed?” Gale said.
60 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“Has been tried. And failed.
Marzerth wants to keep their
stranglehold, so they can keep on
dragging in money by the ton while
colonists and miners on the asteroids
and in the Venus swamps and un¬
der the Martian mountains are vir¬
tually their slaves! Economic peon¬
age ! Of course Marzerth knows that
if Atoma goes on the open market,
it’ll make their energizers obsolete.
And free their slaves!”
“They want to maintain their
“They want no competition,” Gale
said flatly. “I happen to know that
Marzerth, years ago, developed types
of energizers far superior to the
original Marzerth patent. If they
wanted to convert, they could—and
compete openly with us. But that’s
not their plan. So they terrorize.
They find out who’s buying Atomas,
and use gangster tactics. They get
after the men in our own plants—
look what happened to poor Seton!
He was warned. But he had guts,
more than you have, Jay.”
Cheever refused to show annoy¬
ance. “Violence is never justified.”
“Ever heard of fighting fire with
“I’m sorry. I refuse to organize
“Okay,” Gale said. “Televise Ham¬
“Because he’s the boss of Marzerth.
The so-and-so behind all this. The
guy’s who’s been reading about
Capone and Hitler and the twentieth
century terrorists. And—” Gale hes¬
itated a moment. When he went
on, he didn’t look at Cheever. “Be¬
cause your daughter’s been kid¬
Cheever’s hands froze on the edge
of the desk. The color went out of
his smoothly-massaged face.
Gale kept his voice emotionless.
“She was kidnapped from her sky-
car half an hour ago. There were
a few traffic guards around, but what
could they do against organized
crime? They’re not organized.”
C HEEVER’S big frame seemed
shrunken. “They wouldn’t do
that. They couldn’t. Kidnapping’s
unheard of. Hiram, for God’s sake,
what can I do? They won’t hurt
her, will they?”
“No. Certainly not. She’s valuable
as a hostage.”
“Who did it? D’you know?”
“I don’t know —naturally there’s no
proof. Hammond’s too clever to leave
clues pointing in his direction. Legal¬
ly you can’t touch him. He’s above
this milk-and-water law we’ve got to¬
day. But—televise him, Jay.”
“Yes. I—what’ll I say?”
Gale touched the stud and gave
the number. He kept his hand firmly,
encouragingly on Cheever’s shoulder,
and the big man seemed to draw
strength from the contact. But his
lips were pale.
The face of Phil Hammond showed
on the screen, gray-haired, dapper,
tight-mouthed, eyes arrogant as Luci¬
fer’s. As Gale had said, he was above
the law, and he knew it. He wa3
the strong man in an effete century.
Now he smiled at Cheever, nodded,
and said, “Good evening, Mr. Cheev¬
er. How are you?”
The gray man’s eyebrows rose.
Gale’s hand tightened. Cheever
took a long breath.
“Marla’s been kidnapped,” he said.
“Tonight, half an hour ago.”
“Good lord! My sympathy! If
there’s anything I can do, of
“Hammond, don’t play around with
me! Have you got her?”
“Don’t be absurd. You’re over¬
wrought, Mr. Cheever. I am not a
criminal! The libel laws-sorry. I
didn’t mean to threaten you. I can
understand how upset you must be.”
Cheever made a coughing sound
deep in his throat. Gale, out of range
of the televisor pick-up, wrote, “Play
along” on a pad and held it up.
“Okay,” Cheever said, after a time.
“Sorry, I—I thought you might be
able to suggest something, perhaps.”
Hammond adjusted his neckband.
“Dear me. Our police are so inef¬
ficient—merely traffic coordinators.
Problem in Ethics ★ ★ ★ 61
I’ve been forced to rely on a group
of special operators I employ my¬
self, for guard duty. I’ll tell you
what, Cheever—the boys hear things
now and then, and it’s quite possible
they may hear something about
Marla. The grapevine, you know.
I’ll pass the word, and let you know
immediately if I can find out any¬
Gale winked and nodded. Cheever
said, “Thanks. That—that’ll be good
of you,” and broke the connection.
He leaned back, sweat trickling down
“I’m thinking of torture,” he said.
“That was a favorite weapon of ter¬
“Take it easy. Hammond tipped
his hand. He’s got Marla, and he’ll
send her back, safe, if you pay off.”
“Money? He knows I’d do that.”
“Not money. He wants the energy
“I see,” Cheever said dully. “I
can’t believe it, though. Men can’t
do such things—not in this day.”
“Some will. If they’re permitted.
The trouble is—” Gale was talking
fast, as though to keep Cheever from
thinking of his daughter. “—men
today, as a rule, aren’t conditioned
to such vicious tactics. We’re peace¬
ful. We don’t know how to fight.
We can scarcely handle weapons.
Only the scum like Hammond’s thugs
are capable of violence—so they’ve
got the upper hand. The worst of
it is that the law’s on their side. It
hasn’t teeth any more. And Ham¬
mond has such a batch of attorneys
and winds himself up in such a hell
of a lot of red tape that we can’t
touch him. Law suits would drag on
for years, even if we had legal evi¬
dence. And meanwhile, there’d be
terrorism still going on.”
UT you can’t fight people like
that,” Cheever argued. He
was trembling a little.
“It’s possible to learn.”
“I wonder. I—I don’t think I
could. If I could save Marla by
sacrificing myself—or anything—I’d
do it.” .
“Men like Hammond count on
that,” Gale said drily. “Luckily, I’ve
a chap who doesn’t think as you do.
His name’s Broom, Richard Broom,
and I’ve been training him—special¬
ized training—for quite some time.
Jay. I’ll admit, I expected some¬
thing like this to happen.”
“You expected they’d kidnap
“No. Not that. But I knew there’d
be a blow-off eventually. So—my
assistant, Broom. You say the art
of fighting has been conditioned out
of the race. Well, Broom seems to
have learned how to use weapons—
and a lot more—in a few weeks. Why
not let him try his luck now?”
Cheever shook his head decidedly.
“You forget that Marla’s life is at
“That’s what Hammond’s counting
“I will not employ a gangster to
fight gangsters, Hiram.”
“Broom doesn’t feel that way about
it. He liked young Seton. Did you
see the kid, by the way?”
Cheever licked his lips. “Yes,
“Not very pretty.”
The televisor hummed. Hammond’s
face appeared on the screen, bland
and expressionless. “Cheever?” he
said. “I’ve had good luck. Unex¬
pectedly good. I think my men have
got on the track of Marla.”
Gale’s eyes hooded. He swung his
shrunken body slightly on his
crutches, listening intently.
“Well?” Cheever said. “Where is
she? Tell me, man!”
“I can’t tell you that. I said—only
a clue. It may lead to nothing. But
—drop into the Blue Planet tonight.
You might find out something, or you
might not. That’s all I can say.”
The face vanished. Gale, smiled
“He’s protecting himself. Maybe
he wants to make you squirm a little,
Cheever stood up. “All right, all
right! What’s the Blue Planet?”
The televisor directory gave the
address; a cheapjack neighborhood
on the wrong end of town. Cheever
shrugged into an overcoat.
"Want a gun?” Gale said. “I’ve
62 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“What good would a gun do me
against trained killers?” Cheever
asked logically. “Even if I wanted
to take a chance on losing Marla?
No, I’ll do what they say.”
“Even if it means promising to
give up the Atoma patents—trans¬
ferring them to Marzerth? Hammond
will never use ’em, you know.”
HEEVER made a wry face and
went out. Gale used the tele¬
visor to call a number in his labor¬
atory. As the screen sprang to life
he made out in its depths the lumina-
lighted, white expanse of one of his
big workrooms, with machinery clut¬
tering it. In the distance was a tall,
broad-shouldered figure, back turned
It whirled r.ow and came cat¬
footed toward the receiver set—a big
man, barrel-chested, with a tawny
golden beard and light-blue, piercing
eyes. Not a handsome man, but a
ruddy-cheeked, strong, dangerous-
looking one, somehow.
“Oh, Hiram,” the man said.
“Hammond’s done it,” Gale said.
“Listen. You’ll have to move fast—
I only hope I taught you enough in
these few weeks—”
“I learn swiftly,” said the other,
with a broken-toothed grin. “Well?”
Gale explained. “The Blue Planet,”
he finished. “You have the address?
Good. Then I’ll leave the rest to
ou—I can’t tell you any more than
“Very well,” Broom nodded. His
face vanished. Over the beam Gale
heard a door shut with a slam. He
dropped into Cheever’s chair, idly
running one hand up and down his
crutches, and looked into nothing-
Gangster tactics, he thought. Phil
Hammond, ruthlessly reviving the
ancient brutal methods of the twen¬
tieth century, in a world of peace
and plenty—a world helpless against
this first, germinating seed of
discord. Such seeds grow, Gale knew.
In the past they had grown. Tyran¬
ny, war, fury—and because one man,
armed, was so much stronger than an¬
other that he could take unfair ad¬
“Ruthlessness,” Gale said, under
his breath. “Hammond counts on
that. But I wonder—somehow—if he
knows what ruthlessness means?”
R ichard broom touched the
electro-gun in his pocket and
grinned faintly in his beard. A sim¬
ple weapon. Pressing the button
meant that a charge of energy would
leap from the muzzle and kill. Or
maim, depending on the aim. The
knife concealed in his belt seemed
more reliable, somehow. He downed
a whiskey straight, said “Ah-h-h!” in
a pleased fashion, and watched, from
the corner of his eye, Jay Cheever,
at a distant booth in the tavern.
Behind Broom was a televisor cu¬
bicle, sound-proofed and without
windows. Gale had said that the com¬
munication would probably be made
by visor. Broom, pouring another
whiskey, drank it in a hasty gulp,
picked up the bronze-table lamp, and
smashed it against the plastic panel
of the cubicle. He had strength. The
lamp-base broke a jagged hole in the
panel. At the sound of the crash
heads turned, and a waiter came
hurrying over to investigate the dam¬
age. He had one hand in his pocket.
Broom carefully replaced the lamp
and smiled up at the waiter. “Sorry,”
“Listen, whiskers, are you trying
to tear up the place? We don’t stand
Silently Broom poured coin-units
on the table-top. “Enough?” he asked
finally, nodding toward the wrecked
It was far more than enough. The
waiter grimaced, and then, deciding
in favor of the immediate profit,
pocketed the money and departed.
Broom drank more whiskey and
watched Cheever without seeming to
The televisor hummed. The bar¬
tender, being nearest to the cubicle,
answered. He came out calling,
“Cheever. Call for Mr. Cheever.”
The executive got up and hurried
forward. He gave Broom a wary,
suspicious glance, and another at the
Problem In Efhics ★ ★ ★ 43
hole in the panel. But there was
nothing to be done about that now.
He vanished into the booth. Some¬
thing—his hat, probably—covered the
break from within. Broom leaned
down under the table, as though to
recover a dropped coin. He heard
“Where? Meet you where?’’
“Corner of 96th and Grand. We’ll
pick you up. Come alone.”
Broom sat up. Cheever came out
of the booth, gave him another wary
look, and headed for the door. As
he disappeared, Broom rose. He saw
a thick-bodied, dark-haired man walk¬
ing forward, a man with a broken
nose and the sharp, furtive eyes of
a killer. Broom had seen such eyes
before. He was not surprised to find
his exit blocked.
“What’s your hurry, fella?” the
squat man asked.
“Yeah. You weren’t intending to
follow that guy that just went out,
maybe, were you?”
B ROOM looked at him. The man
said, “Why not sit down and
keep drinking?” His hand slipped
into a pocket.
“Yes,” Broom said, and sat down
again. He poured another drink from
the bottle, and thrust the little glass
across the table toward the squat
man. As the latter’s glance flicked
down, Broom threw the whiskey into
the man’s eyes.
He had done this with his left
hand. The fingers of his right had
already closed lovingly around the
neck of the bottle. The squat man
swore thickly and tried to pull some¬
thing out of his pocket. Broom, sud¬
denly on his feet, swung the bottle
in a long, vicious arc and crashed it
murderously on his opponent’s face.
Blood, whiskey, and glass flew. The
man screamed in unbelieving terror
Forgetting his gun, he clawed at
his eyes. “God!” he yelled. “You
blinded me! i You—”
“Yes,” Broom said. Others were
coming toward him, but they had
been taken by surprise; moreover,
they probably considered this merely
a drunken brawl—though even that
was cause for surprise, now that
there were so few inhibitions for
liquor to release. Broom went out
of the door with cat-footed swift¬
ness. No one had time to stop him.
He ran a few paces, paused, and
signalled the lights of a surface taxi.
“Where to, bud?”
“96th and Grand. No. 95th and
Men were pouring out of the
tavern. . The taxi driver hesitated,
craning over his shoulder.
A huge hand closed on his neck,
bruising muscles and cracking tiny
“95th and Grand.”
The taxi started with a jolt. The
huge hand went away. But the driver
did not look back till he drew up at
his destination. Then he found him¬
self too hoarse to speak; he could
only whisper and point to the figures
marked in the illuminated band above
Broom paid and got out, watching
the cab slide hurriedly off and vanish
into the dark. He stood briefly let¬
ting the cool wind play against his
ruddy cheeks and ruffle his beard.
He was smiling.
This was a warehouse district.
The mighty buildings towered like
mountains into the night sky, where
stars showed ir the narrow purple
cracks above. Luminous light-bands
glowed on the curbs. Broom kept
well away from them as he walked
As he expected, Cheever was stand¬
ing there, shivering in spite of his
heavy overcoat. He turned, startled,
at sight of Broom, and then rec¬
ognition came into his face.
“ Y ou’re—”
“Give me your coat.”
“You were in the bar with me. Are
you from—is it about Marla? I don’t
Broom peeled the coat from the
other’s shoulders and donned it him¬
self. It was too small. Seams
ripped. Nevertheless he struggled
64 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
HEEVER was watching him.
“What about Marla?”
“Go home,” Broom said.
“But—no, listen! How do I know
you’re the man I was to meet? They
said they’d pick me up. That meant
And a car was coming. Its dimmed
lights showed in the distance. Broom
carefully gauged distance and threw
his fist against Cheever’s jaw. Cheev-
er collapsed. Broom dragged him
into the shadows and left him. Then,
donning the other man’s hat, he
pulled it low over his eyes, hid his
beard in his overcoat lapels, and
stepped to the curb.
The car was a convertible flying
model, big, dark and sleek. It pulled
up, and Broom felt keen eyes on
“Cheever,” he said.
The voice was hard, metallic, and
A door gaped. Broom’s eyes were
adjusting themselves to the dark.
Two men were in the rear compart¬
ment, and one in the driver’s seat.
Big men—and light glinted on their
guns, stray beams reflected from the
Broom bent his head and entered.
The two men moved aside on the seat
to make room for him. He sat down,
his hands, hidden by the coat, feel¬
ing for gun and knife.
The car slid forward, went anti¬
gravity, and zoomed upward.
The man at Broom’s left said,
“Let’s take a look at you. And frisk
him, Jerry, while you’re at it.”
“What for?” Jerry said.
He doubled up with a coughing
moan as the silent electrogun blasted
through the heavy fabric of the over¬
coat. Broom knew where to aim.
The charge angled up through the
man’s ribs and found his heart. He
The other man—
The knife was held in Broom’s
left hand, his thumb pressed firmly
over the hilt’s top, and he drove it
up, in a deep, slicing thrust, at the
man’s belly. The blazing cold shock
of agony choked the victim before he
could scream. And, as he tried to
breathe, the sharp blade plunged
again, and he died.
The aircar was above the buildings
now, heading west. The pilot turned
his head, peered through the gloom,
and opened his mouth. He didn’t
He kicked out, setting the ship to
automatic control, and went for his
gun, writhing swiftly in his seat.
Broom was still holding his electro¬
pistol. Instead of firing, he gun-
whipped the other. The cartilege
of the pilot’s nose ripped; blood
streamed from his face; he was
smashed back against the windslip
That gave Broom time to carry the
fight into his opponent’s territory.
He was leaning over the back of the
front seat when the pilot, shaking
his head and cursing thickly, lifted
his hand to aim the gun. Broom’s
knife came down, cutting across the
other’s arm midway between elbow
The man screamed.
B ROOM caught the gun as it fell.
His face had not changed. He
listened impassively to oaths that
changed gradually to gasping pleas.
“—God, I’ll bled to death! Gimme
a chance! You cut my arm off—”
“Where is Marla Cheever?” Broom
“—my arm! Jeez, you can’t—you
Broom caught the wounded arm
and twisted. His blue eyes had an
unpleasant, withdrawn glitter.
When the man had stopped scream¬
ing, he asked again, “Where is
There was the sound of harsh
breathing. “I—I don’t know. No—
don’t! Don’t! It’s the truth! I was
supposed to televise Nichols—”
“Who is Nichols?”
“I don’t know. He never shows
his face on the visor screen. I—I—”
“Take me to him.”
“But—I don’t know where he is!”
“Ah-h! Uh....okay. Okay. I’ll try.
Problem in Ethics ★ ★ * 65
Broom watched the car slant down
toward a rooftop. His victim got
out, nursing his arm, from which
blood was still flowing. It was dark
up here, the distant lights of the
downtown district a flaming corona
against the sky. Once the rocket-
jets of a space ship made a comet
streak up from the horizon.
The pilot led the way down a stair¬
case, unlocked a door, and let Broom
into a small apartment. Broom
pointed to the televisor against the
“I’ll bleed to death! For God’s
Broom yanked the man into the
bathroom, ripped down a curtain, and
improvised a tourniquet. He used
cold water to swab blood roughly
from the man’s face.
T HE pilot dragged himself to the
televisor and spun a number. The
screen lit up, but no face showed on
it. A clipped voice said, “Well?”
“This is—Macklin. I—I’ve got to
“Impossible. Where’s Cheever?”
Macklin flashed a glance of ter¬
rified appeal at Broom. The tele¬
visor said, “somebody’s there with
you. What’s happened? You’re
Quick suspicion showed in the
precise voice. Broom watched the
screen suddenly fade into dull blank¬
ness. He pushed Macklin aside and
called Hiram Gale, at the laboratories.
“Here. How is it?”
“Trace this number.” Broom gave
“All right. I’ll call you back.
Where are you? Uptown seven—
eh? Right; I’ve got it. Hang on.”
Broom and Macklin waited. The
pilot was shaking. He fumbled out
a cigarette, but couldn’t light it.
Broom didn’t offer to help.
Presently the visor hummed again.
Gale said, “Got it. Apartment four,
eighty-three Upper Parkway. Phil
Hammond owns the penthouse in that
building. That what you want?”
“Yes,” Broom said. He turned
away, picked up Macklin by the
scruff of the neck, and dragged him
up to the roof. The air-car was still
“Eighty-three Upper Parkway. Go
Macklin opened his mouth and
closed it again. He got silently into
the pilot’s seat and sent the ship
slanting up. Broom, beside him,
fondled his beard with a blood¬
stained hand. The pale blue eyes
were quite expressionless.
They landed in a parking-lot not
far from their destination. The at¬
tendant was busy elsewhere, and
Macklin turned to his companion
with a questioning glance.
“You’ll let me go now?”
For answer Broom’s huge hand
closed on the pilot’s throat. After a
time he let go, climbed out of the
car, and walked quietly toward the
street. There was a movable way
here. He seated himself on one of
the benches and let the strip carry
He got off a few blocks away, at
83 Upper Parkway. A visiplate was
set above the door, and Broom rang
the buzzer numbered four. The plate
lighted. Nichols’ familiar clipped
tones said, “Who is it?”
“You’re not Cheever.”
“Cheever sent me.”
There was a pause. “Oh. You’re
alone, I see. All right, come in.”
Broom obeyed. Along the hall a
door was opening. He pushed through
it, thrusting back a small, ferret-faced
man. Almost absently, almost with¬
out looking, Broom sank his knife
into the man’s body between clavicle
A CROSS the room was someone
at a desk, arranging vials and
syringes on a napkin before him. He
was almost as big as Broom, but an
albino, white-haired and with pale,
Standing beside him was a squat,
ugly fellow resembling a hairless
gorilla. He was reaching for his gun
when Broom put an electro-charge
through his heart. The man at the
desk ducked down and was hidden
66 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
Broom crossed the room in two
jumps and heaved the desk over. A
weapon glinted in his opponent’s
hand. The man was momentarily held
down by the heavy desk, but his gun
was swinging around to aim point-
blank at Broom.
Broom smashed his foot down on
that menacing hand. The man
screamed and let go. Broom pulled
the desk away, sat on the other man’s
chest, and laid the point of his knife
against the pulsing throat.
“Where is Marla Cheever?” he
“I—I don’t know what you’re—”
Broom smashed his open hand
down, hard, on the other’s face. Aft¬
er that, it wasn’t a face any more.
Broom’s big palm kept the albino
“Where is Marla Cheever?”
The man gasped something thick¬
ly. Broom removed his improvised
“This won’t get you anywhere,
damn you! If Cheever wants his
daughter alive, he’ll do what we
want! And he’ll pay for what you’ve
“Where is Marla Cheever?”
The albino coughed blood. “Tough
guy—eh? Marla’s safe. But she
won’t be unless you-Let me up!”
Broom stepped back and let
Nichols rise. Holding a red hand¬
kerchief to his mouth, the man said,
“You can’t get Marla this way. If
Cheever wants his daughter tor¬
Broom’s blue eyes showed sudden,
merciless laughter. He shot out his
hand, swung Nichols around, and
bent the albino’s up behind his back.
Nichols squealed, but Broom’s palm
instantly stifled his cry.
“Torture,” Broom said. “Yes.”
“— uh —break my arm ah-h!”
“Where is Marla Cheever?”
The sweat of agony dripped from
the albino’s forehead. And there was
stark, disbelieving amazement mixed
with the pain in his expression. He
gasped, “You—didn’t hear me—I said
—we’d torture—the girl—”
“No,” Broom said. “You. Where
ICHOLS held out for a while.
Broom was merciless. The al¬
bino could talk glibly about torture,
but he himself had never experienced
Ten minutes later, his arm broken,
his lips bitten through, he pulled
himself to the televisor and called a
Nothing showed on the screen.
“Y-yes. Let the girl go. Let her
“Something wrong? Did Cheev¬
Broom moved gently. Nichols
winced. His voice broke with hys¬
“Cheever did what we wanted! Let
her go, d’you hear? Right now!”
“All right, if you say so. Quick
Broom broke the connection.
Nichols staggered to a chair and sat
down, making hoarse, animal sounds.
Broom watched him impassively.
“Who pays you?” he asked finally.
“Hammond. Phil Hammond. I—
I’ll testify in court—”
“No,” Broom said. “Wait.”
A half hour later he televized
Hiram Gale. The little scientist was
“Broom? She’s back. Just showed
up. They let her go.”
“He’s here, too. A guard found
him on the street, slugged uncon¬
scious. What now?”
“Wait,” Broom said.
Nichols looked up. The big bearded
man was leveling a gun at him.
Nichols gasped and tried to fling
himself aside. “Don’t,” he shrilled.
“I’ll testify—I’ll sign a confession—”
“Why?” Broom asked.
“You can’t kill me—like this—”
He shot Nichols neatly through the
head. Then he left the apartment
and took the pneumo-lift to the pent¬
house. A butler met him at the
door, staring, astonished, at the great
“If you’ll wait—”
Broom laid his fist against the but-
Problem in Ethics ★ ★ ★ 67
ler’s jaw. He stepped over the man’s
prone body and called, “Hammond!”
“In here,” a voice said from be¬
yond an open door.
PKTtHE penthouse was big and luxur-
M. ious. The city’s lights gleamed
like a fantastic firefly garden through
the great windows. Hammond was
in an oak-paneled room, a gray, quiet
little man drinking brandy and puff¬
ing at an ancient pipe. Tapestries of
Bayonne and Gobelin hung from the
walls. Antique armor and arms were
here and there, hauberks, swords,
maces, mieericordias, and the like.
Underfoot the carpet was a rich, deep
Hammond looked at the big man
on the threshold.
“I don’t know you," he said.
“What do you want?”
“I am fighting for Cheever,” Broom
said, “—and for some others.”
The gray eyebrows rose. Hammond
“By your appearance, you seem to
have befallen among thieves. You
are—wait. I remember. You are one
of Hiram Gale’s assistants. He hired
you a few weeks ago.
“I see. And some—thugs—have
tried to persuade you to give up your
job? Is that it? Well, why do you
“To stop you.”
Hammond chuckled. “That’s been
tried, my friend. It’s impossible.
I’m fairly rich, and fairly powerful.
What do you expect to accomplish?”
“Your death,” Broom said.
There was a pause.,
“Don’t be a fool,” Hammond said
shortly. “You’re not insane. That’s
no way to settle matters—”
“It is your way.”
“Proof. Proof, my good man. Show
me one iota of legal proof—”
Broom lifted his gun. Hammond’s
pipe fell from his mouth. His hand
shook as he put down the brandy
“Wait,” he said, his voice almost
a whisper. “You’re crazy. This Isn’t
l, Justice?” Broom hesitated. His
gaze swept around the room. Com¬
ing to a decision, he pocketed his
electro-gun, stepped to a wall, and
tore down two great swords. One
of these he tossed toward Hammond.
It fell ringing at the gray man’s feet,
“Here is justice,” Broom said.
Hammond licked dry lips. “You
can’t do this,” he said. “You can’t
come into my home and—and—”
“Trial by battle,” Broom said.
“Take up your sword.”
“I won’t. You won’t kill an un¬
“A coward is not a man.”
Hammond’s frantic eyes flicked
about, searching. Broom stood lean¬
ing on his sword. Abruptly the gray
man swooped down, snatched up his
weapon, and dtove in a vicious, be-
low-guard thrust at Broom’s belly.
Broom parried the blow. His own
blade swept around, flaming like liv¬
ing light» singing like a harp. The
look of blank, disbelieving astonish¬
ment was still on Hammond’s face
when the gray man’s head leaped
from his shoulders in a spouting
fountain of scarlet.
HIS SPECIALTY WAS DIVING!
Joe considered himself a plenty smart leather-pusher. The way he hit the
canvas for phony kayos was plenty slick. Then he met a girl who thought
he was a great tighter, and Joe wondered It he COULD win a bout/
' RING RAT” by Eric Itober
ALL SPORTS MAGAZINE
68 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
Broom wiped his swerd carefully,
replaced it on the wall, and let him¬
self out of the apartment.
H IRAM GALE and Cheever were
in the physicist’s laboratory.
Gale was making adjustments on a
cubical device, complicated and
esoteric, and flinging occasional re¬
marks over his shoulder as he
“All right,” he said. “So Ham¬
mond was found dead a couple of
hours ago. What about it?”
“His head was cut off!” Cheever
said, white-lipped. “In this day and
“A crime wave, eh? I’ve heard
other reports, too. You got your
daughter back, didn’t you?”
“Yes. And Fm grateful to this man
Broom for that. But Hiram—it’s
savage, uncivilized, inhuman!”
“So was Hammond’s organization.
He went back to the twentieth cen¬
tury for his tactics. But he made a
big mistake.” Gale turned a helix,
checking it with a micrometer.
“Eh? What was that?”
“His thugs weren’t so tough. They
had a veneer of savagery overlying a
core of civilization. It was simply
a problem of finding someone tough¬
er than they were. Such criminals
can’t be fought except on their own
ground, Jay. The world must learn
that. Hammond expected we’d give
in—or fight him in the courts. He
counted on that. He didn’t count on
an opponent a lot tougher and quick¬
er on the draw than his own men.
He didn’t count on a man who was
savage to the core.”
Gale shook his head solemnly.
“You must learn. The world must
learn, too. Men like Hammond must
be wiped out. Yes, Broom is a mur¬
derer, but he came from a place
where mfirder was natural'—where
standards of ethics were quite dif¬
ferent from ours. In Hammond’s or¬
ganization he saw something he un¬
derstood—something he knew how to
fight—and so he did it, in his own
way. The way that worked, when
steel could cut through red tape.”
The cubical device lighted; a pale
cloud grew within it. Gale called
" Richard Broom appeared through
a distant doorway. He had not
troubled to change his clothing or
remove bloodstains. Beard bristling,
he hurried toward the two men, blue
“Is it finished, Gale?”
“Yes. You have my gratitude.
You have won a crusade for us.”
Broom laughed. “This a crusade?
These puny fools? Faith, they were
nothing. But for the rest, I like
not wizardry, and I like not this
strange world of yours. I would as
soon be in my prison again, held by
the Duke, as learn your altered ton¬
gue and your curious weapons. A
sword is best, after all. But—well,
you asked my aid, and now you have
had it. So God be with you.”
He gripped Gale’s hand. The
scientist, hobbling on his crutches,
turned to the machine and swung a
lever. The cloud within the cubicle
Beyond, dimly glimpsed, were
stone walls hung with tapestries. All
was cloudy and dark. It is hard to
see into the past....
But Broom, with a flashing smile
for Gale, stepped through and was
gone. The mist thickened again and
faded. Then where the vision had
been was nothing.
Gale met Cheever’s wide eyes, and
laughed a little.
“You’ve guessed it, Jay. A time
machine. I told you I was fooling
with more than one gadget.... I
picked Broom out of the past weeks
ago, and asked his help. It took a
while to train him to cope with mod¬
ern civilization—but he had his own
standards of ethics, and they were
the right ones to use against Ham¬
Cheever said, “Who was he?”
“A murderer,” Gale said. “By our
standards. Didn’t you know that
Plantagenet means Broom? Your
murderer was a king, Jay—Richard
Coeur-de-Leon. What do you think
But Cheever had no answer ready.
THE MAN WHO SAVED
... NEW YORK ...
Poiky's ego just wouldn't stay in his own body, and
that, believe it or not, was what saved the c ityl
O F COURSE, as you know, I
didn’t figure in the excite¬
ment over the Green Giant.
The newspapers and the radio boys
never mentioned me, or Lisbeth, or
Baldy or even Porky Jenks. Why
would they? We have kept strict¬
ly silent about the whole affair. Not
from shyness; none of us are against
a little wholesome publicity. But
it never does one any good to be
billed as a first class candidate for
the nut-house. So that Green Giant
who waded around in the ocean off
Sandy Hook will remain a mystery.
Not that I can actually explain
him. I can’t. He’s as much a mys¬
tery to me as to anybody else. But,
as it happened, there probably never
would have been any Green Giant at
all if it hadn’t been for me. I don’t
mind telling the real facts, but I
think it’s quite a bit safer for them
just to go as fiction. You can take
them or leave them, so to speak.
And there’s another angle to the
70 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
thing. The war actually would have
been won by now—if Lisbeth hadn’t
queered it. Hitler would have been
smashed and everything would have
been just swell. I had it all planned
—and then Lisbeth put the jinx on
it. I’m sorry about that. But you’ll
realize there’s not a thing I could
The queer affair began last Spring
—a warmish afternoon when I was
sitting in my study trying to figure
out a plot. Porky Jenks came in to
See me. I used to know Porky quite
well, but hadn’t seen him for a cou¬
ple of years. He was a likeable young
fellow, always with a ready laugh
which is what made him so fat, I
suppose. But this was a different
Porky. He wedged himself down,
collapsing in my only armchair. His
clothes were rumpled as though he’d
slept in them; his collar was wilted,
hanging soggily on his bulging
throat. His thin sandy hair was plast¬
ered on his sweating forehead; he
pulled out a big blue handkerchief
and mopped his face and just stared
at me with pale blue eyes that looked
“Well, well, Porky, glad to see
you,” I said. “How are you?”
“I’m awful,” he declared. Just out
of habit, I suppose, he tried to laugh,
but it was only a wan, sickly grin.
“There’s—something the matter with
me, Ray. Something terrible. That’s
why I’ve come to you, see? You’re up
on all that nutty stuff—the bizarre,
the queer, the unbelievable—”
“Oh,” I said.
He stared at me with that haunted
look. “Listen,” he said, “do I look
crazy? Insane? A maniac? Tell
me I’m not, Ray.”
“You’re not,” I said. “Cheer up.
What have you been doing with
yourself? Last I heard you were just
“I’m a hardware salesman. Retail
trade. That is, I was, but what with
the war and all, it’s no good.”
“Tough luck,” I said.
“It’s just as well. Walking so
much made my feet hurt—they just
wouldn’t stand it.” He sighed heavi¬
ly. “Maybe that’s why I’m in 4-F,
too. That and my weight—my heart.
But that’s nothing serious—”
“Oh well, that’s fine,” I agreed.
“But now—you’ve got some other
T HE haunted look came back into
his earnest eyes. “I’ll have to
tell you,” he agreed. “After all,
that’s what I came here for.” He
gulped. “Listen,” he said, “hang onto
yourself—you’ll get a shock. The
thing hit me just about a week ago.
Like a bolt from the blue—I didn’t
have any warning at all. I was feel¬
ing perfectly all right, honest.”
“What hit you?” I prompted.
“I was just sitting by the window
of my boarding house room.” His
voice had that awed, solemn tone
like you use telling a ghost story.
“When all of a sudden I wasn’t my¬
self at all. I was sitting in the chair
all right—I knew that. But also I
was a man walking down the street
past my window.”
“A man walking past my window,”
he repeated drably. “A perfectly
strange man—and I was worried be¬
cause I was late getting home and
my wife’d give me hell. I was hen¬
pecked, scared to death of her, see?”
“No, I don’t see,” I declared.
His fat hands made a hopeless
gesture. “Well, that’s what I mean,
Ray. You think I’m crazy. That’s
why I can’t go see a doctor. He’d
just slam me into an asylum or some¬
thing.” His chubby hands reached
out and gripped my arm. “Listen—
you’ve got to believe me. Anyway—
I can show you—give you a demon¬
stration—it’s easy enough.”
“Is it?” I said.
“Sure it is. You see, my ego, id,
personality or something, doesn’t
seem to want to stay put in my body,
any more. It—it wants to wander —’*■
“Let’s get this straight,” I inter¬
rupted. “You say you suddenly
usurped the mind and body of some
strange man walking down the
“Yes, that’s it! Usurpsed! That’s
a good word, Ray. I was sort of
conscious that he was confused, too—
my usurping him that way. He kind
The Man Who Saved Hew York ★ ★ ★ 71
of resented it for a second or two—
and then I guess he went blank. Any¬
way, I was in full control—”
“And what did you do? With him,
“Oh. Well, I remember I decided
I wouldn’t bother going back to my
wife—his wife, I mean.”
I could only nod.
“So I went into a Bar and Grill
and started to absorb whiskeys and
soda and to the devil with his wife.”
“And then?” I prompted.
“Well, I can remember getting
pretty blurry eventually. Seems like
I was telling the bartender all my
secret thoughts about the wife.” He
smiled wryly. “And then I—well,
you can’t blame me, Ray—it occurred
to me I might be getting into some
sort of jam. So I just—withdrew.”
“I gave that little fellow back his
body,” Porky said. He shrugged.
“What else could I do? I just jerked
myself back to my own body—in the
chair by the window, see?”
For a minute I couldn’t think of
anything to say. I’ve juggled with
weird things like that for years—but
strictly on paper, you understand.
Now, meeting one in real life gave
me a creepy feeling. Because Porky
was telling me the truth. I wouldn’t
doubt it. He was plainly about
frightened out of his wits.
“You say you can do this any time
you like?” I said at last.
“Sure I can. That’s just the trou¬
ble—sometimes it’s almost involun¬
tarily, if I’m dozing, half asleep for
instance, I just seem suddenly to
slip into it. I got into a nasty jam
just last night.”
He waited for me to ask him, what?
But I just stared at him.
EEMS a man and his wife were
having a big argument—the
room over me ir my boarding house,”
he went on. “I could hear them. I
don’t know what possessed me but all
of a sudden I decided to take the
wife’s part. So I did. She was a little
woman, but when my—my personal¬
ity got control of her—she’d always
been meek, see? Afraid of the big
bruiser, see? Well, anyway, it seems
I changed all that in a hurry—”
Porky smiled weakly. “Sort of hard
“I get what you mean. Go on.”
“Well, the little woman took a few
socks at him which surprised him—”
“I should think it might,” I com¬
“And just as he was socking back
“Yes—yes I did. And that’s what
worries me too, Ray. Not just for
myself—this damned thing, see? It
can work injustice to other people—”
“Easily,” I agreed, “That hen¬
pecked husband getting home drunk,
“That’s what I mean.” He was still
gripping my arm and his hands were
shaking. “Ray, listen—a fellow
oughtn’t to be able to do a thing like
this. It’s not normal, is it?”
“No,” I admitted. “No—certainly
not exactly normal. But you’re not
sick, Porky? Nothing seems to be
the matter with you—except this, of
“No. If I wouldn’t be so scared I
guess I’d feel all right.” He shud¬
dered. “But what am I going to do?
Want me to show you how the thing
works? It’s easy enough. Let’s look
out your window here. You just
pick out anybody—anybody at all—”
"H"T was just then that Lisbeth and
H- Baldy Green walked in on us.
Lisbeth is my daughter. She’s a nice
girl. And good looking—a mop of
unruly, wavy brown hair, and a figure
with curves in all the right places.
She wants to be a career girl—a news
photographer, newspaper reporter of
the sob sister style maybe, with a big
by-line and write feature articles;
and maybe hold down the City Desk
job and "publish the newspaper. A
few little odds and ends like that.
Baldy is a cartoonist on one of the
big dailies. Middle aged, with a wife
and six kids. A good friend of mine;
and he had just gotten Lisbeth a job
on his paper. Neither he nor Lis¬
beth had ever met Porky Jenks. I
introduced them now. And then—
because you had to do something to
explain Porky’s frightened aspect—
72 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
and maybe I didn’t look too normal
either—I thought I’d better explain
the problem in hand.
Well, as you can imagine, Lisbeth
and Baldy were pretty nonplussed.
And skeptical. But Porky, more
gloomy than ever at all this discus¬
sion, waved away their doubts.
“Then let me show you,” he de¬
clared. “Pick anybody out there on
the street. Anybody at all.” He
shoved his armchair up to my open
window, with us three standing
around behind him.
“Will it—will it hurt him?” Lis¬
“It won’t hurt Porky,” I said. “But
it might very easily hurt the other
fellow.” I must admit the thing had
me pretty jittery. I could begin to
see the possibilities of what might
,happen. The hazards, so to speak. I
gripped Parky by the shoulder. “Now
listen,” I told him. “You’ve evident¬
ly had a lot of luck so far. You
haven’t killed anybody, have you?”
He gulped. “Killed anybody? Oh
my heavens no! How could I—”
“Listen—suppose while you—er—
have possession of some stranger—
suppose you got killed?” I suggested.
“Or committed suicide for instance?”
“Oil please—please be careful,”
Lisbeth put in.
“It isn’t Porky I’m worried about,
it’s the other fellow,” I said. “Look
here. Porky—it only takes you a sec¬
ond to—withdraw, as you put it?”
“Why—yes. Less than that, may¬
be. Instantaneous maybe—”
“And so you’d be sitting here in
your chair, but the other fellow
would be dead.”
“Don’t quibble,” Baldy said. “Let’s
see him do it. That’s the important
part.” Baldy also has a good imagi¬
nation, which is why his cartoons
are so successful. “If he can do a
thing like that, it’s a gift,” Baldy
added with mounting enthusiasm.
“Why, we can capitalize on it in a
thousand ways—maybe make a for¬
“I just want to get rid of it,”
Porky said. “But here goes-^just so
you won’t think I’m crazy.”
Well, he showed us, all right. A
meek-looking old woman with a
shawl over her head and an umbrella
under her arm happened to come
along, and at the busy intersection
just under my window she stood
looking confused, as though afraid
of the traffic.
“Try her,” Baldy suggested. “She
looks like a weak character. You
can take possession of a weak one
better, can’t you?”
“Doesn’t seem to make any differ¬
ence,” Porky said. “All right, she’ll
do. Now just watch. Keep your
eyes on her.”
We were all of us pretty tense, I
guess. I recall that I was trying
to watch the old woman, and Porky
simultaneously. There was the old
woman, standing on the corner, nerv¬
ously waiting for the light to
change; and then when it did, she
seemed afraid to start across because
cars were turning from the side
street. And here in his chair, Porky
just took a good, intense look at his
victim. That was queer too. I saw
a sort of predatory look jump into
his pale blue eyes. And then he sat
back in his chair with a hand up to
T HEN it happened. Down on the
corner the old woman seemed to
start; for a second she looked dazed;
I think she gave a twitch. Here in
the chair was a thud. That was
Porky’s head falling back inert
against the chair; and there he lay,
motionless, in a trance. Lisbeth no¬
ticed him and gave a frightened lit¬
“He’s all right,” I murmured.
“Shut up,” Baldy admonished.
“Look—oh migosh, look at the old
She was something to look at, no
argument on that. The light had
changed back, but that didn’t stop
her. With imperious, if shaking
steps, she strode out from the curb,
holding up a hand to stop the traf¬
fic. By some miracle nothing hit her.
And at the exact center of the in¬
tersection she stopped.
“Oh-h,” I heard Baldy murmur.
“She’s gonna direct the traffic!”
That undoubtedly was her gen¬
eral idea. She had the closed um-
The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 73
brella gripped in her hand, holding
it over her head as she gestured for
the cars to stop, or come forward.
It was quite a sight. And in a min¬
ute or two there were a lot of sounds
—cars honking, the drivers yelling;
the grinding, bumping crash of a
couple of minor collisions. How
long it went on I have no idea. I
was pretty scared. The vague im¬
pulse came to me that I ought to
give Porky’s inert body a shake to
rouse him; but I didn’t dare. What
that would have done, heaven only
knows. Anyway, down in the street
policemen were coming on the run.
The scene down there was quite a
mess, with that old woman still vig¬
orously telling the traffic what it
ought to do. Nothing had yet hit
her. Then the policemen reached
her; gripped her. The vague thought
struck me that Porky would proba¬
bly think this the proper time to
withdraw. Evidently he did. I saw
the old woman stiffen and then go
limp in the policemen’s arms; and
here in the chair Porky gave a
twitch, with his head coming up, his
eyes open staring at me, and a nerv¬
ous smile on his lips.
That was all there was to it. Just
as simple as that.... Porky was the
first of us to speak.
“Well, there you are,” he said.
“How’d it work?”
“Take a look,” I told him.
He looked. “See?” he said. “That’s
what I mean. I got her in trouble
and I didn’t intend it, honest.”
Beyond any doubt the old woman
was in trouble. Four policemen were
telling her off; and then a radio car
came and they bundled her into it.
“That’s tough,” Baldy murmured.
“How’s she gonna explain it? She’ll
wind up in Bellevue.”
“Well, he didn’t intend it,” Lis-
beth said. Then she turned on me.
“Why don’t you go down there and
do something about it? Get her off
—-you can just tell them—”
f ‘Not me,” I said. “You go. And
I’ll come to the asylum and try and
get you out. This whole thing is
crazy, and anybody connected with
“It may be crazy, but it works,”
Baldy declared. “Listen, you lugs,
don’t you realize what we’ve got? A
gold mine! Fame! Fortune! Why
listen, we’ll put Porky in the
“I don’t want to go in the movies,”
said. “I just want to get rid
“He doesn’t have to if he doesn’t
want to,” Lisbeth put in.
“That’s silly,” I told Baldy. “What
would it look like in the movies?
Like nothing. Just trick photo¬
“Well then, vaudeville,” Baldy de¬
clared. “The scientific wonder of the
age. He takes possession of various
people in the audience—”
“Wouldn’t that make a hit with
them!” I retorted. “It would not!”
“I’ll bet we could get a thousand
a week for it,” Baldy insisted.
“I won’t do it,” Porky said. “I’d
wind up in the insane asylum, or in
jail. Listen, I came here to see Ray,
just to ask him would he please—”
I T was then that the big idea came
to me. The war! Money is a
wonderful thing, but what with all
the publicity the war gets, naturally
it’s on your mind even more than
money. How could we use Porky’s
gift to help with the war? I’ve al¬
ways had a vivid imagination, and
this thing seemed suddenly to give
it an immense stimulus. Lisbeth was
about to tell Baldy and me again that
Porky didn’t have to do anything he
didn’t want to do, but I silenced her.
“Look here, Porky,” I demanded,
“why did you make that old woman
“I dunno, it just occurred to me.
When I was a kid I always wanted
to be a policeman when I grew up.”
“That’s it!” Baldy exclaimed. “His
subconscious! You see—”
I interrupted him. “Porky listen,
could you take possession of some¬
body who’s out of sight?”
“Sure I could,” he agreed readily.
“Remember? I told you—that wom¬
an in the room above me, arguing
with her husband. I couldn’t see
“All right. Now then, could you—”
Baldy interrupted me. He hap-
74 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
pened to be looking out the window.
Down the street from me there’s an
Undertaking . Parlour, with a Neon
sign of ghastly green. “Say,” he
^exclaimed, “here’s a thought! I
wonder could he take possession of
a corpse, for instance? There’s
probably one over there in that Un¬
dertaker’s place. Suppose he made
it come walking out! Think of how
wonderful it would—”
“I’m thinking about it and I won’t
do it,” Porky declared.
“I should say not,” Lisbeth agreed.
“Dad listen, he’s told you ten times
all he wants is to—”
“Don’t be gruesome,” I told Baldy.
“I’m thinking of something impor¬
“Like what?” Lisbeth demanded.
“The war,” I said. “I’ve got it
all worked out.”
I told them. And I must say, it
sounded even more feasible, telling it,
that it did thinking it up. Nazi
submarines are always lurking off
our coast. We know that.
“Like this,” I said. “We go down
near Sandy Hook. Porky doesn’t
actually have to see his victim—that’s
been demonstrated. So he just
mentally selects one of the lurking
submarines and takes possession of
“Do I?” Porky said.
“And then what do I do?”
“You have him run his submarine
up on the shore and smash it,” I told
him enthusiastically. “Maybe the
crew would get suspicious and stop
you? If they did—then all you have
to do is open valve and sink the sub.
Or blow it up with one of its own
torpedoes. I’m no expert on sub¬
marines, but don’t you see, when
you’re the Commander you’ll know
all about them. No trouble at all to
find a dozen ways of blasting the
whole thing to smithereens.”
“And kill himself, too,” Lisbeth
murmured. “Dad, I thought you had
better sense than—
“Not at all,” I explained. “In one
split second he jumps out to the safe¬
ty of his own body which is with us
on shore. That’s been demonstrated.
Why, the thing’s perfect. One sub
gone. Then he jumps into another
one! And another! The Battle of
the Atlantic is the big hitch in our
war effort. You know that. Why,
fijfcALDY was beginning to get the
.M® bigness of my idea. “It’s per¬
fect!” he exclaimed. “Why, listen,
when Hitler finds his subs just aren’t
coming back, he’ll be afraid to send
any more out! Then we can get busy
on the Japs. Take a Jap battleship,
for instance. Or a Jap General, or¬
dering all his men in the wrong di¬
rection ! What chaos! What a cinch
for our forces—”
“Well, I won’t do it,” Porky said.
“It just wouldn’t work and I won’t
“Why wouldn’t it work?” I de¬
manded. “Lisbeth, stop trying to tell
me he doesn’t have to do what he
doesn’t want to do. He does have to.
This is too important a thing—”
“It might work with just the first
submarine,” Porky admitted. “But
how do I know I can jump out of the
Commander’s body with everything
exploding around me? I never tried
anything like that. Suppose I cal¬
culate it wrong and I’m dead before
I jump. How do I know whether I
can jump out of a dead body or not?
I never tried it—”
That made Baldy mad. “Listen,
you big hunk of junk,” he said, “are
you going to put your own personal
safety ahead of a chance to win the
war for Uncle Sam?”
“More than just a chance—practi¬
cally a sure thing,” I agreed.
“That’s because you and Baldy
aren’t taking the chance,” Lisbeth put
in. “You two are safe and he gets
killed. For just one submarine. It’s
suicide—just plain suicide and I
won’t let him do it.”
“All right, I’ll try it,” Porky said
suddenly. “I’m no coward, if you go
and put it that way. Only I sure
hope it works.”
I patted him on the back. “Good
boy. That’s the stuff. Now listen,
everybody, this thing will have to be
kept absolutely secret, of course.”
“Of course — definitely,” Baldy
The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 75
“We’ll just go ahead and do it and
say nothing,” I went on. “The war
will be won in a hurry—and why it
got won will be the mystery. Who
cares, so long as we win it?”
Well, we planned the thing for
about an hour. It was so simple,
though, there really wasn’t much
planning to do. We decided that
about eleven o’clock that same night,
we’d all go quietly down near Coney
Island or somewhere and go to work
on the first sub that came within
Porky’s range. The range was an
unknown quantity, of course. But,
so far as any of us could figure, there
wasn’t any reason why Porky’s astral
body couldn’t jump a mile—ten miles,
for instance—just as well as from my
window down into the street.
“Well, let’s go to dinner,” I said at
“I was thinking I would take Lis-
beth to dinner,” Porky said. “Just
to talk things over, you know.” He
gazed at Lisbeth with sort of shy
confusion I expect you’d call it, and
she gazed back.
“I’d like that,” Lisbeth said. “Come
on, let’s go."
“And you be back here by eleven
o’clock promptly,” I warned.
“Yes, of course—sure we will,”
“Because the war depends on you.”
“Should you go A. W. O. L.,” Bal-
dy put in—and he didn’t smile when
he said it—“I will personally see that
you get put into an insane asylum
for the rest of your natural life.”
|T OCCURRED to me to mention
ji. that Porky could jump out of an
insane asylum without much trouble,
but I decided to keep that thought
to myself. Lisbeth and Porky depart¬
ed with more promises; and Baldy
and I had dinner and loafed around
discussing the thing, waiting impa¬
tiently for eleven o’clock. About
quarter past eleven Lisbeth and
Porky came back. You’d have
thought they might have spent the
evening soberly discussing the weird,
dangerous things into which Porky
was about to plunge. Not at all. They
had been to a double-feature movie—
“Love’s Lingering,” and “Passion’s
Pretty Flowers,” or something like
that. They were very happy about it.
But they sobered down when I men¬
tioned'that Porky had the fate of the
war on his hands; and by the time we
got down to the seashore Porky was
looking a little white around the gills.
“I sure hope this thing works,” he
“Of course it will,” Baldy and I
assured him. We sat him down on the
sand. It was a lonely stretch, with
the waves rolling up in long rhyth¬
mic lines of white and the open sea
a deep purple with leaden clouds
overhead and a wan moon trying to
“Now then, make yourself comfort¬
able,” I told Porky as we stretched
him out on the sand. “We’ll be right
here by you all the time.”
That didn’t seem to comfort him
much. “I sure hope this thing works,”
With the fate of the war at stake, I
sure hoped so myself; but I wasn’t
going to express any doubts about it.
Baldy and I sat down and lighted up
“Just keep your mind on the near¬
est submarine Commander,” I said.
“And then jump into him and go to
work. Then—withdraw. You’ll be
back here with us instantaneously
and we’ll start you right off again,
it’s a cinch,” I assured him.
“I sure hope so,” he agreed.
“Nazi submarine Commander,”
Baldy put in with sudden thought.
“There might be a U. S. sub out
there, Porky. Now listen—don’t you
get this thing mixed—”
“It’s just plain suicide—that’s what
it is,” Lisbeth murmured resentfully.
But Baldy and I silenced her.
And then Porky went to work. He
was stretched on the sand with head
and shoulders propped up by his el¬
bows behind him. We all held our
breaths. For a minute or two Porky
just stared moodily out at the purple
sea. Concentrating. Lisbeth was sit¬
ting beside him; she seemed afraid to
look at him.
“I won’t let him do it,” she mut¬
“Shut up,” Baldy growled. “You’ll
break the spell.”
76 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
Then suddenly Porky gave a
twitch. His body stiffened, then
went limp. There was a little thud as
his head and shoulders fell back onto
the sand. Lisbeth gave a suppressed
cry. Baldy and I exhaled; and then
went back to puffing at our pipes.
You’ve got to have poise in a thing
like that; take it in stride, so to
“Well, he’s at work,” Baldy mur¬
mured at last. “Pretty soon we ought
to be getting results.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “I’ll bet those
Nazi sailors on the sub are getting
kind of surprised, just about now.”
I could picture it. A startled won¬
derment spreading around the sub at
the queer actions of the Commander.
Or maybe the whole thing was ex¬
ploding just about now.
More time passed. On the sand be¬
side us Porky’s body lay inert. You
could hardly tell that he wasn’t dead.
I could feel Lisbeth’s gaze roving
Baldy and me as though we were a
couple of murderers. Then all of a
sudden Lisbeth gave a sharp, startled
“Oh, my heavens! Look! Look
We all saw it at once. Out in
front of us, half a mile out maybe,
the purple sea suddenly heaved up.
There was a great cascade of water
out of which a monstrous dark green
shape rose towering two or three
hundred feet into the air. The Oreen
Giant! There he was. How can I
describe him? I can’t. Not adequate¬
ly, because he was too awesome, too
weird, too incredible—but there he
was. A great green man-shape.
T HE pallid moonlight shone on
him—a green giant who must
have been five or six hundred feet
tall. He was wading waist deep in
the water—wading, not at us, thank
heavens, but parallel to the beach, to¬
ward Sandy Hook by the entrance to
New York Harbor. The moonlight
shone on his glistening torso—green
scales and a slimy sea-look as though
algae and barnacles might be clus¬
tered on it. A Green Giant almost
in human form. Anyway, I remem¬
ber that he had a browny chest that
bulged out over the ocean surface;
wide thick shoulders and monstrous
arms that dangled down into the
water as he strode forward, with a
line of white waves churning at his
waist. I saw his face plainly. You
couldn’t call it human, but that was
its general idea. He was breathing
through his mouth now with a snort
that was a gruesome rumbling roar;
but I could see that he had gills or
some such apparatus in the sides of
For a minute maybe Baldy and I
and Lisbeth must have just sat there
stricken, numb, with the body of
Porky beside us. And then sudden¬
ly an immense amount of amazing
things began to happen all more or
less simultaneously. In the town
behind us the air-raid siren began
wailing. Then searchlights from
several spots on shore sprang like
great waving silver swords in the
sky. Then, far out to sea there was
the drone of planes.
An air raid! New York City be¬
ing raided by Nazi planes! The
Green Giant had nothing to do with
the first alarm here on shore. It
was planes coming in from the ocean.
We heard them; and in a few seconds
we saw them—four of them, flying
low; Nazi planes—the moonlight dis¬
closed it. Who am I to try to pic¬
ture exactly what happened next? It
was quite a chaos. All I can remem¬
ber is that one of the planes swerved
low pretty close over the Green
Giant. I imagine that Nazi pilot was
sort of startled—can you blame him?
Anyway, suddenly the giant let out
a bellow of anger; his hand reached
up a hundred feet or so over his head
and grabbed the plane — seized it,
crunched it maybe and then flung it
away. The plane was a long finger of
yellow-red flames as it fell hissing
into the sea.
I recall I heard Baldy mutter: “Ah
—-good work! Very neat!”’
. Good work! That tipped me off. I
admit that in all the chaos the main
fact had not yet occurred to me.
You’ve guessed it. Porky! By some
mischance for Hitler, quite evidently
Der Fuehrer had selected this par¬
ticular night for his threatened
The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 77
bombing of New York. Here were
his bombing planes—four of them.
And there was Porky, in the person
of that astonishing green giant, going
to work on them. Those Nazi pilots
evidently got rattled. They gave up
their ideas of heading up the bay
and for a moment were circling here
like a flock of confused birds. They
were too far away now for Porky to
clutch at them, so he stooped. One
of his hands came up out of the sea
with a monstrous dripping boulder.
He flung it, and another plane
There was worse than chaos out in
front of us now. A lot of our own
planes were coming, interceptors that
went like wasps after the two re¬
maining Nazis. One of Hitler’s
prides seemed to be shot down; and
Porky accounted for the other one—
that green giant leaped into the air
with a marvelous standing high
jump, grabbed the Nazi plane with
both hands and tore it into bits. But
now a new element entered into the
thing. Hitler evidently had a few
subs around here. One of them ob¬
viously let loose a couple of tor-
pedos at the giant. Distinctly I saw
two explosions at the giant’s waist¬
line—torpedos that must have gone
right into him and exploded inside.
Anyway, he doubled up with a bel¬
lowing roar of pain that rattled our
ear-drums and then he went down.
sinking with a cataclysmic rush of
white waves over him.
I recall my fleeting thought that
this would be just the proper time for
Porky to withdraw. And he did. As
the green giant fell and disappeared,
the body of Porky here on the sand
gave a convulsive shudder and in
another instant Porky was sitting up,
blinking, with a hand rubbing his
forehead, and the other hand shoving
away Lisbeth who was clutching at
“W-well,” Porky said. “Here you
are. What happened?”
“Plenty,” I said. “A very great
deal. But you did fine. Porky.”
g B ALDY was on his feet, holding
Ag off Lisbeth who was struggling
to get at Porky. “Say, listen, you
lug,” Baldy demanded, “where in the
devil did you ever pick up that giant?
It happened to work out all right,
“Why—I dunno,” Porky said. “He
was just lying around down there—”
“On his way in from Atlantis may¬
be?” Baldy was sarcastic.
“I dunno. I was concentrating on
a sub Commander—how bestial they
are—you know, that sort of stuff—
and all of a sudden I sort of slid into
that giant.” Porky shuddered. “It
was—horrible. But — when I saw
those Nazi planes, I did my best.”
“You did wonderful,” I agreed.
LET THE LIVING BEWAREI
"THE DEAD MAN DEALS
Don't Miss This Powerful Mystery Novel
by T. W. FORD
Also DAVID X. MANNERS, CARL RATHJEN,
GRETA BARDET, and others.
78 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“You saved New York from maybe a
nasty air raid. Now listen, the U-boat
Commanders are still out there. All
we have to do—”
“If we had any sense we’d be get¬
ting out of here before we get into
real trouble,” Lisbeth observed sud¬
I could see that she had something
there. This section of the beach was
no longer lonely. Spectators were
beginning to mill around; and there
were Coast Guards, with searchlights
darting at us, and planes roaring
“Come on, let’s duck,” I agreed,
“We’ll come back tomorrow night
when things have quieted down a
Baldy and I planned it enthusias¬
tically all the way back to the city.
Barring the sudden advent of green
giants and such, the thing obviously
was absolutely simple. We' four
could tour all the coasts. And then
maybe arrange to get abroad. I fig¬
ured three months—if Porky could
hold out—would wind up the war.
That next day, Baldy and I made
charts in regular military fashion,
outlining our exact plan of campaign.
We didn’t see Porky or Lisbeth that
afternoon, or evening. They had
wanted to have dinner together
again, but had promised faithfully to
report at my study by eleven p. m.
They came, right on the dot. And
they were both beaming.
“Well,” I said. “Here you are.
That’s fine. And you look in good
shape for a swell night’s work,
“Yes, sir,” Porky agreed. “I’m all
right. But you see, sir—there’s—er—
something we want to tell you.”
That “sir” sounded sort of queer,
but I admit I didn’t get the idea.
“He loves me and I love him and
so it’s all settled,” Lisbeth said.
I saw that Baldy looked startled.
What I looked like I don’t know.
“What’s all settled?” I demanded.
“Us—er—we’re engaged,” Porky
stammered. “That is—”
“It absolutely is,” Lisbeth beamed.
“He loves me and I love him. Defi¬
To say that I was nonplussed
would be putting it mildly. But I
have always prided myself on having
a true sense of values. What’s the
problem of a daughter compared to
the problem of winning the war?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
“Well, we’ll talk about that later,”
I decided firmly. “Right now we’ve
got a war on our hands. Come on,
let’s get going.”
But Porky didn’t look at all as
thought he were ready to start.
“Well,” he said, “that’s another
thing I—er—have to tell you.” He
looked very pleased. “I haven’t got
it any more. I’ve, lost it.”
Baldy came to life. “What’s that
mean?” he demanded. “What in the
devil haven’t you got any more?
What have you lost?”
“My—my gift—that’s what you
called it,” Porky said. “It’s gone.
Vanished. I can’t do it any more. I
tried—honest I did—but it’s gone.”
Lisbeth made an expressive ges¬
ture like one who wants to indicate
that a fairy has just flown out the
“He tried,” she said. “He really
“I’m no coward,” Porky added.
“Didn’t I do fine last night? But
it’s gone—I’m quite normal now.”
He said that last with a very evident
“Because now your soul and heart
and ego and such are all tied up
with Lisbeth,” Baldy said sarcas¬
“That’s it,” Lisbeth retorted. “And
you don’t need to be sarcastic about
it. He and I figured it all out—why
would his ego want to roam abroad
when it’s in my keeping—forever?”
She and Porky were holding onto
each other’s hands and gazing with
that dying calf look. “He belongs to
me now,” Lisbeth added. “His ego
doesn’t want to go adventuring. Be¬
sides, if it did, I wouldn’t let it.”
And there you are. I’m sorry about
not being personally able to win the
war, but you can see, there wasn’t
a thing I could do about it.
Strange and utterly terrible were
the flame-creatures who came out
of nowhere to feast upon the hfe-
energies of spacemen, stranded
on Mars. But even more strange
was the message Captain Jim
received from the besieged
Hardy: "We walk alonel"
J OAN’S hair was a tumbled,
red-gold glory. She shook it
out with her pale hands in
the cold light, and turned from the
viewport, stared straight at me.
“Jim, I’m frightened,” she said.
“Why couldn’t they have signaled:
‘We need help badly’ or ‘Emergency
—come at once.’ Why did they waste
powder on a message that just doesn’t
“Well, we ’ll know in a few hours,”
I said. “Speculating about it won’t
uze's head and
like a wind-
By Frank Belknap Long
80 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
increase our field drive, or give Hardy
a shred of comfort.”
Through the viewport. Mars looked
a good deal like a huge copper coin
flecked with blue-green verdigris. On
both sides of it in the cosmic treasure
chest, jewels sparkled, and there was
a shawl of fine-spun gossamer in
there, too—which could have been a
But all that stellar booty failed to
interest me now. My nerves were
taut as banjo strings; my eyes were
riveted on the bronze coin, and the
mottlings which were the funguslike
plants of Mars, basking in the lush
warmth of a perihelion summer. In a
short while now, the warmth would
become a withering blight and the
polar ice caps would vanish com¬
You can’t do much exploring when
the thermometer drops to minus nine¬
ty, Fahrenheit, on tropical nights and
rises to a steamy one hundred and six
at high noon. Normally, Hardy’s com¬
mand and my command would have
gone rocketing back to .Earth at the
height of the summer solstice.
But there was nothing normal about
a gravity plate that had resisted the
tug of Mars only to buckle on little
Phobos, crippling our ship on a blue
moon that traveled in the wrong di¬
rection, and possessed a diameter of
only eight minutes of arc when it
was at its zenith.
Under our feet it seemed like a lit¬
tle rock in the sky. To complicate
matters, our short-wave transmitters
had ceased to function, and we had to
communicate with Hardy on Mars by
magnesium flares, in the interplane¬
tary dot-dash code.
We had repaired the gravity plate
in record time, and were tuning up
the atomotors when up from the rud¬
dy planet had come an exposing and
eclipsing sequence of light.
Flickerty — flash—flickerty—flash—
Although we were close to Mars
now, the the atomotors had built up a
field drive which was giving me space
nausea, and Joan a bad case of ten-
She kept looking at me with her
blue-gray eyes, disturbed, frightened,
but yet trusting. I would never quite
reconcile myself to the provisions of
Spaceway Personnel Amendment 6Y9.
Women were out of place on a Mar¬
tian expedition no matter what the
regulations said. Joan was the best
chart room assistant a Commander
eve« had. But I still felt that the
place for her was on Earth, surround¬
ed by orchids and soft music, and
not between Mars and Phobos in a
ship that kept threatening to burst
In sudden desperation I strode to
the intership communication coil and
barked at the Chief Engineer: “Start
decelerating, McCarthy. We’ve never
built up such a speed as this. I—I
don’t like the feel of it.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” came from the Irish
giant at the other end of the coil.
Decelerating before you’ve hit the
heavyside is tough on the engine
lads, but I knew McCarthy could
handle it. The Chief Engineer could
surmount almost any challenge flung
at him out of thin air by a commander
with a catch in his voice.
Almost before I could get the con¬
trol board stripped for emergency ac¬
tion we were making a perfect seven
point landing. Cushioned by bursts
of energy from her flaming rocket jets
the Silver Queen circled downward
in a wide arc, and berthed herself by
scooping a four hundred foot hollow
in the sand.
T WENTY minutes later we were
clambering through an airlock
into the cold Martian dawn. Joan and
I were the first to emerge, but by
gripping a spanner bar the Chief En¬
gineer managed to drop to the sand
ahead of us; it was his voice which
rang out on the frosty air.
“Sure, and they haven’t moved her,
sir. It’s sealed she is —from the out¬
Swaying a little, our breaths con¬
gealing on the frosty air, we stood
staring up at the ghostily gleaming
hull of Hardy’s ship. The hoar frost
which covered her from stem to stern
hadn’t begun to melt yet, and she
looked more like a phantom ship than
the sturdiest vessel ever built.
She rested in a deep hollow between
The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 81
yellow-red hillocks of sand. A week
before Hardy and I had stood on one
of those high, tumbled mounds and
discussed our divided command.
Hardy's voice seemed still to hover
on the frosty air. “You may as well
get Phobos out of your system, Jim.
I could draw you a map of what you’ll
find there. Gray-blue soil and primi¬
tive rock structures, unweathered and
dry. Bright, brittle stars—the Milky
Way a burning spider web. But go
ahead—get it out of your system.”
With an effort I threw off the illu¬
sions of Hardy’s presence, and
straightened. What had happened to
him? The ship was sealed and no
sound broke the stillness. I was as
frightened now as Joan had been
when the magnesium flare had chilled
What had become of Hardy’s scien¬
tific staff? What had become of the
crew? Hardy had kept the assistant
engineer and four able-bodied sky¬
men. Where were they now? Had
Hardy ordered the airlocks sealed and
abandoned the ship deliberately?
Good God, had he?
It seemed unlikely. Hardy was not
a man of suicidal impulses. He knew
how quickly the temperature could
drop, knew there could be no security
if he abandoned the ship and erected
a vacuum tent out on the plain.
Even now the ghastly cold of the
night before was waiting patiently to
stage a comeback. The temperature
was just below freezing, and there
was a hazy blue tier of ice crystals
obscuring the sun.
Joan was shivering and plucking at
my sleeve. “I think we’d better sepa¬
rate, Jim,” she urged. “We’ll break
out in mental symptoms if we just
stand here, and take on the awful
I had an impulse to draw her into
my arms. But McCarthy was nod¬
ding, and there was a look on his big,
rugged pan which said as plain as
words: “We’ve got to find Hardy be¬
fore a sand typhoon obliterates his
trail. Sure, and the three of us can
accomplish more by following the col¬
He had not the faintest idea of how
I felt about Joan. Adjusting my oxy¬
gen mask I stared at him somberly.
“McCarthy,” I said. “You’d better
take the low road. Joan and I will
take the high road. Every ten min¬
utes or so, you will use your trans¬
mitter. It should be good for ten
miles, if we don’t get too much inter¬
ference from the heavyside.”
“The high road and the low road”
was a' standing joke between us.
Hardy and I had noticed that the
plain dipped directly behind his ship
and rose in a gentle curve a short
distance away. It wasn’t much of a
dip, and it wasn’t much of a rise, but
two searching parties walking in op¬
posite directions could quickly pass
from each other’s sight. There wasn’t
much on Mars to hide a body, but
the distances blurred more quickly
than on Earth, and when the wind
started blowing yellow-red sand about
Unfortunately a compass with a
needle that points is worthless on
Mars. There is no magnetism at all
on the ruddy planet; every five miles
or so the needle of a compass reverses
itself; you are better off if you don’t
know what magnetism is.
In fifteen or twenty minutes, Joan
and I were out of sight of Hardy’s
ship, and had a message from Mc¬
Carthy complaining that the tempera¬
ture was dropping fast, and that he
had found no trace of Hardy or his
’■'T IS wild and dismal on Mars,
JL even when the sun shines down
and melts the hoar frost. The vege¬
tation is monotonously blue-green
and poisonous looking, and I was
glad it was covered now with a thin
coating of hoar frost. Joan’s brows
were white, her hair ditto, and she
kept stopping to slap herself and
stare up at the sky.
“A snow maiden wondrous fair,” I
found myself thinking irrelevantly.
There’s something about the thin,
cold atmosphere of Mar’s which
makes you retreat into yourself, and
if you happen to have a companion
like Joan you’ll look out at her from
an ivory tower if you’re not careful.
I was thinking thoughts which
82 ★ * ★ Science Fiction Stories
made me feel warm along my nerves,
but all I said was: “Joan, how in
blazes could Hardy stay out in this?”
“I don’t know, darling,” Joan
breathed. “But if it’s my advice
“It might be better if we didn’t
stay out in it ourselves.”
I nodded, and readjusted my oxy¬
gen mask. You can breathe the thin
Martian air, but it is not pleasant to
choke up, and feel half-suffocated.
“Darling, it’s ashamed of my own
weakness I am,” Joan whispered, par¬
roting McCarthy’s inverted Gallic
“We’re turning back,” I said, with
grim finality. I took a hitch in my
gravity belt and turned my right foot
in the direction of Hardy’s ship.
Then, with a glance at Joan which
brought a quick flush to her cheeks,
I raised my left heel and started to
execute a complete about face.
Started only, for at that moment
when my eyes were caressing Joan as
though she were the last woman and
the first forever and ever in my sight,
I saw the stumbling figure.
He was coming down the high road
fifty yards ahead of us. Not actually
on the road, but stumbling along
where it crinkled into a sort of shal¬
low ditch before descending to the
Joan uttered a smothered cry, and
“It’s Andy Macleod!” I heard my¬
self saying. For an instant the whole
thing seemed so utterly unreal I
wasn’t sure I had spoken. My voice
had a nightmare quality and seemed
to come from deep inside my head,
as though I’d been yielding to a vo¬
cal impulse in some fantastic dream
which hadn’t jelled yet.
The radiance which enveloped the
stumbling figure’s head and shoulders
and streamed out behind him like a
wind-wafted cloak was terrifying
enough, but what made me fear I was
going to be sick was the look of
idiocy on his face. His tongue
lolled and his eyes were rolled back,
so that even from a distance of twen¬
ty yards they looked like white
agates set in a jungle mask to scare
away tribal ghosts.
But there were no tribal ghosts on
Mars, and no mask-makers. He was
very close to us now and still stum¬
bling. Andy Macleod, Hardy’s geolo¬
gist. Only a week before I had
thumped him on the back, and wished
him luck with the red desert strata.
I almost screamed when he went
lurching past me.
“Don’t touch him!” Joan warned, a
dark blur of terror in her eyes. “Jim,
I had torched him. Lightly, on the
wrist, for one awful second I re¬
turned Joan’s stare as though we
shared a secret too horrible to talk
about. Worse, I seemed to be top¬
pling backwards into an abyss away
I shut my eyes and tried to think
of nothing at all. When I opened
them I was on firm ground again.
“The light must be an electrical
phenomenon,” Joan whispered hoarse¬
ly. “Did it burn you, darling?”
“No, it was as cold as his flesh,” I
said. “We’ve got to get him back
to the ship!”
Joan shook her head. “No—don’t
you see? If it’s a sleep-walking
trance he’s in he may lead us to the
Her words sent a current of hope
surging through me.
“Good Lord,” I choked. “I never
thought of that.”
T HE admission had been wrenched
from me, but I was not ashamed
of it. In grim emergencies most
women are more logical than men,
and Joan was an exceptional woman.
So quietly we moved you could
have heard a pin dropping. Down
the high road for eighty yards, and
then recklessly out across the track¬
less waste in the wake of the stum¬
In some elusive, mysterious way
we seemed en rapport with the aura
of flickering radiance ahead, for
when it dimmed a coldness seemed to
tighten about our hearts.
“It seems to fluctuate with every
breath we draw,” Joan whispered. “I
can’t explain it exactly. But it’s as
The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 83
though it were something alive, and
had fastened on us! That’s the feel¬
ing I get, Jim.* I’m not superstitious,
but I—I—Jim, it isn’t pleasant at
I had been noticing it, too. When¬
ever Macleod faltered, the light
bunched itself like a terrestrial meas¬
uring worm and waited for him to
recover his equilibrium.
Suddenly the sky darkened, and
Joan’s fingers bit into my wrist.
“Darling, we’re going to have an
eclipse,” she warned.
“All right,” I said. “Just watch
your footing, and keep close to me.
If that flame doesn’t go out we’ll
have enough light to see by.”
Keeping our distance, we continued
on. A seeming eternity roared over
us while Phobos spun across the sun,
imprisoning us in a maze of hunched
and quivering shadows. Many times
a year Phobos darkened its primary,
but never so startlingly as now. For
when the eclipse dwindled, the light
that came back flickered on a vast,
stationary bulk toward which a flame-
enveloped human figure was stum¬
bling on an almost perpendicular
The object which towered directly
in our path was unmistakably a ship,
but no such vessel had ever been
built on Earth, or would be—or could
be. A plastic song it was, a threnody
of metal flaking into rust. Its sym¬
metry was breathtaking, almost ter¬
rifying, and for an instant I was
caught in such a tight web of awe
that I felt like a man who has stum¬
bled into a museum to gaze up at
some priceless work of art, while the
city in which he dwells is being re¬
The spectacle of a man stumbling
upward through the empty air sent a
chill coursing through me. But what
drew my gaze with an even more
compelling urgency were the ship’s
ponderous end-vanes, half-buried in
the sand, and the sheer massiveness
of the hull.
REMEMBER thinking we could
M. never climb up a nearly vertical
hull four hundred feet in height^ And
I remember Joan shivering in my
arms, tight and warm and clinging to
me, and whispering that we could.
“The hull’s corrugated, darling. We
can’t turn back now. You’re worry¬
ing about me when you should be re¬
membering Spaceway Regulation H
95. If Hardy was in trouble in an
ice gleat on Neptune you’d get
through to him if your hands
Her mouth altered from a wet
curve to a tight, thin line. “Stop
ruffling my hair, darling, darling.
We’ve got to see this through. You
won’t lose me if I don’t slip—and I
don’t think I will.”
Less clearly I remember the climb
itself, with Death checking off the
odds in millimeters every inch of the
way. Although the hull was heavily
corrugated even the most heat-resist¬
ant metal gets smelted down a little
by the vicissitudes of space, and the
odds seemed a hundred to one against
our reaching the flyspeck mottling
high on the hull through which Mac¬
leod had vanished, after dwindling to
the dimensions of a gnat.
But reach it we did, to discover
that it was a light-rimmed aperture
a little larger than the Silver Queen’s
“You go first, darling,” Joan whis¬
I nodded, squeezed her hand, and
rotated myself into the midst of the
glow over what appeared to be a
revolving handrail, but was probably
a device for opening and closing the
port. Looking down, all I could see
was a nebulous glimmer. I might
have twisted around more and taken
a longer look, but my hands sudden¬
ly slipped and I did a hyperbola that
brought the radiance swirling up
I landed heavily on something soft
that groaned and then grappled with
me. A soft thud behind me told me
that Joan had descended, but I did
not swing about. The hands that
tugged and clawed at me had no
strength in them and the eyes that
burned into mine were feverish with
torment. It seemed as if it were
not really I that was standing there,
but someone whom I watched from
84 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“Captain Hardy,” I whispered.
He recognized me the instant I
started shaking him. His lips began
to move and his hand tightened con¬
vulsively on my wrist.
“Jim, get out of here!” he moaned.
“Get out—get back to—the Silver
Queen. Clamp—clamp down—the
gravity ports. Jim, you hear? Jim?
“Hardy, listen to me,” I husked.
“We’re not running out. We’ve come
“No, you listen, Jim,” he pleaded.
“It’s our fuel supply—our Uranium
235. If they get our uranium we’ll
never see it again. I’ve sealed up
my ship, and now we mustn’t talk
mustn’t even think about it.”
His clawlike fingers tightened on
my wrist. “Jim, they can move with
the speed of light. That’s why they
leave the ports unguarded. Yester¬
day MacLeod tried to escape. He—
he got as far as the ship. They didn’t
kill him, but when they brought him
Hardy’s voice sank to a hoarse
whisper. “Second degree burns, Jim
—on his chest, thighs and back. All
I could do was puncture the blebs
and assure him the agony wouldn’t
“But you sealed up the ship,” I
said, huskily. “How did you get back
“I was with one of the flames, Jim
—out on the plain,” he replied. “But
something happened to it. It swirled
away from me and disappeared be¬
hind my ship. I sealed all the ports
before it swirled back. Perhaps it
was another flame that came for me.
It’s impossible to distinguish between
“But why do they—”
“Jim, they know we’re keeping
something from them. But it takes
them a long time to get what we’re
thinking. They have to concentrate
and we can block them by repeating
nursery rhymes. Anything—a n y
H ARDY’S face twitched. “What¬
ever you do, don’t think about
our fuel supply. They’ve never used
U-235 as a fuel, but they’ve built
up a crude and sketchy picture of
our world, our science, from our ran¬
“You mean we’ve two chunks of
U-235 to guard now,” I asked.
Hardy nodded. “With all the
strength of our minds. The Silver
Queen isn’t sealed, and they may get
at the secret anyway. They are
familiar with the phenomenon of
radioactivity, and the release of
atomic power by trigger-neutrons in
water-jacketed U-235 would not be
beyond their comprehension. We’re
short on rations now and in another
month our supplies will be exhausted.
If they steal our fuel we’ll be done
for. If they even suspect they can
use uranium to produce the energies
He broke off abruptly and cringed
back against the wall with a con¬
The flames hovering at the end of
the passageway were chillingly in¬
determinate in outline. Not formless,
exactly, but the queer thing was that
they seemed conical only when they
remained completely stationary. The
instant they swayed they seemed to
fluctuate in thickness, losing their
curvature and becoming almost two-
Time seemed to stand still for an
instant. I was aware of Hardy’s harsh
breathing and Joan’s slim moist hand
fumbling for mine in the dim cold
light. More slowly I became aware
of words forming in my mind, and
running like quicksilver through the
blurred mazes of my consciousness.
“Are you the other Captain?
“Are you the other Captain?
“From Phobos? From Phobos?”
Then: “We don’t know a damned
thing about machinery.”
Somehow I knew that though they
were communicating with me tele-
pathically the words which formed
in my mind only imperfectly de¬
scribed the images which accom¬
panied them. I knew, for instance,
that “machinery” was not a strictly
accurate word, for it conjured up a
vast complex of glowing cones and
“We don’t know a thing about ma-
The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 85
chinery. Our Captain expired—heart
attack. Our food is exhausted and
we are suffering from scurvy. We
Gradually it dawned on me that
they were using my own mental con¬
cepts to describe a tragedy that had
no exact parallel in human exper¬
ience. Concepts which they had taken
from Hardy’s mind and the minds
of his men and fitted together to form
what Hardy had called “a crude and
sketchy picture of our world.”
T HEY had lost the shining light
which had guided them across
the Intergalactic night. They had
lost their “Captain.” They did not
know how to navigate the ship be¬
cause they were “passengers.”
“Scurvy” was ludicrous, of course
but it apparently meant they were
suffering from an energy deficiency
—nutritional to them. “Heart attack”
suggested some sort of vital collapse.
Perhaps an energy flareup had burnt
their captain out.
They had used one word which I
did not like. “Why should you wish
to drain me?” I asked. “To drain
me of what?”
Although Hardy had stressed that
it took them a long time to get what
we were thinking I wasn’t prepared
for the confusion which ensued.
“Of-of-of-of-of-what? Of — what?
What, what, WHAT? Drain, drain,
DRAIN? Repeat. Repeat the
I complied slowly—three or four
“We wish you drain you of in¬
formation, knowledge,” came at last.
“We need your help. With the ma¬
chinery, the engines. The female-
no, girl, GIRL, can help us with the
Joan gave a little, choking gasp.
She had studied engineering and
knew a good deal about machinery.
Our kind, of course. Seemingly the
flames had tapped her mind, and—
The next thought came with terri¬
fying suddenness. “We feast on
radiant energies. Protoplasm—your
bodies—mildly radioactive. We must
drain you of warmth. We must—
take you for a walk.”
As the terrifying words came a
whip seemed to catch me on the for¬
ward and tightened, so that I went
reeling backward. The flames were
swirling down the passageway to¬
ward me, but I scarcely saw them.
My temples were pounding and my
gaze was riveted on Joan’s white
Even as I staggered back I had a
torturing picture of her youth and
beauty withering as the flames hud¬
dled close to her. She was looking
at me as though I were a great, help¬
less stag whom someone had shot, her
hands pressed to her threat.
I knew she wasn’t thinking of her¬
self at all. She was visualizing the
Commander of the Silver Queen be¬
coming a gaunt, hollow-eyed skele¬
ton, and finally—slumping in sheer
exhaustion as Macleod had done.
MacLeod’s stupor had been sufficient¬
ly deep to relax the lineaments of
his face, and it seemed likely I would
soon be wearing the same look of
There was no ladder leading to the
port above, but directly behind me
was a yawning, dark opening in the
deck. Where it led I neither knew
nor cared. My one thought was to
spare Joan the agony of being
dragged over the plain, and down
into the “engine room” to labor in
torment over the maze of glowing
cones and prisms I had seen as
though in a glass darkly.
As I swung about a look passed
between us which needed no inter¬
preting. Swiftly, steadily, I gath¬
ered her in my arms. The warmth
of her body was good to feel. It
steadied me somehow. Her cheeks
were cool against mine and there was
no longer any panic in my heart
when I leapt.
Falling through darkness I remem¬
bered thinking that they couldn’t
take us for a walk now. Couldn’t,
W|| ARLING—” a voice moaned.
B 9 I reached out and felt
around me. An acrid odor assailed
my nostrils, and there was a buzzing
in my ears which grew steadily in
85 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
I was stretched out on a cold, hard
surface, my limbs twisted painfully
under me, my chest constricted by a
dislodged gravity belt. Groaning, I
pushed the belt down to my waist,
and arose to a sitting position. As
I did so memory came rushing back
with a roar as of great wings unfold¬
I saw again the yawning aperture
in the deck above, and the hovering
flames and Joan’s white face. And
again I seemed to be falling through
darkness with my darling in my arms.
It was an illusion, of course, pro¬
duced by a swirl of returning me¬
mories following too closely on a
jarring shock. All about me towered
cyclopean cones and prisms suffused
with a pale blue radiance. As I stared
into the unearthly glow a dizziness
swept over me. I shut my eyes and
opened them again slowly.
Joan was lying a few feet away,
separated from me by a triangular
cluster of glowing prisms. She was
moaning and trying to rise. Sudden¬
ly she seemed to sense my gaze. Her
lips trembled and her eyes met mine.
“Dearest, help me—”
Swaying, I stood up and started to¬
ward her. Started only, for there
was something wrong with my feet.
When I tried to move them I seemed
to stumble over them. My knees
buckled, and the deck began to move
out from under me. With a shatter¬
ing crash I sprawled forward, strik¬
ing three of the prisms and sending
a livid spurt of light lancing up¬
Instantly other lights flashed and
pinwheeled all about me. There was
a heavy roar and then—utter, un¬
natural silence. Then movement
again, a sensation of rocketing mo¬
tion. More lights flashed, spurted,
and the droning which ensued muted
the roar of the “engines.”
Something seemed to spin me
about, and I had a sensation of yawn¬
ing emptiness, of gulfs upon gulfs
dropping away beneath me. I
groaned, and tried to pull myself
back up over the'shattered prisms.
I pulled myself back, but it wasn’t
over prisms. It was over a mound
of tumbled red sand, with the dust
of a beginning desert typhoon rattl¬
ing against my oxygen mask and a
scream echoing in my ears.
“God, Jim, we’re outside!”
Hardy was half-buried in the sand,
but his mouth was clear and one leg
and the arm with which he was ges¬
ticulating. Macleod was right above
me, but he couldn’t speak at all. His
mouth was choked with sand, and he
was groping for his oxygen mask and
taking a terrific lashing from the ris¬
Hardy’s scientific staff were pretty
well scattered. Meade and Miles a
hundred feet apart, and Jackson at
the apex of what was practically a
triangle. In the space between Joan
had fallen to her knees and was still
trying to rise. Together in a hollow,
their faces purple-blue, were able-
bodied spacemen Phillips, Grayson,
Gerick, and Stanley.
“Jim, lad, it’s outside we are!”
I crawled toward Joan on my hands
and knees. She was deathly pale and
would be needing strong arms about
“Darling,” I husked, lifting her to
her feet. “Are you all right? Are
“Don’t be silly,” she said, wrinkling
her nose at me. “I never felt bet¬
ter in all my life. I never—”
She swayed and—went limp in my
T HE wonder of it widened our
eyes all the way home. Widened
our eyes and diverted our minds from
navigation as we blasted our way
across the void, Hardy in his ship
and I in mine, with McCarthy and
Joan horning in, talking, arguing
about it in the audiovisidisk till the
blue-green Earth filled a third of the
sky above us.
“Sure, Captain,” McCarthy said.
“From what you tell me, it wasn’t
uranium they needed for that ship
at least. It was a space-time travel¬
ler, and where it came from we’ll
not be knowing.”
“I guess you’re right, Mac,” I said.
“When I smashed those prisms
things started humming. The ma¬
chinery must have built up tremend¬
ous vibrations which warped space.
The Stellar Vampires ★ * ★ 87
The continuum buckled, and that
ship was sucked back into space-time
in the direction of motion. It was
probably a Fitzgerald contraction
“You mean the dimension warp
ripped away most of its mass, and not
being yourselves in motion we were
spilled out through the infra-radiant
bulkheads?” Joan asked.
“But the flames were not spilled
“I imagine the flames vibrated with
the ship,” I said. “You can’t travel
through space-time unless you vi¬
brate with the traveling vehicle. Peo¬
ple who don’t think things through
are apt to overlook that angle.”
“Sure and it’s nothing but luck I’m
wishing them,” McCarthy said. “In
their shoes we’d have done the same.”
“They wore spiked-shoes, Mac,” I
grunted. “But this I’ll say for them.
We’ll not be seeing their likes again.
We thought it was a magnesium
flare which brought us back from
“I sent no flare,” Hardy’s image
said in the Silver Queen’s audiovisi-
“You and your nursery rhymes,”
I gibed. “To keep from thinking
of our fuel supply you hummed
nursery rhymes, eh?”
“I guess, I fell to brooding,” Hardy
admitted. “Instead of ‘Mary had a
little lamb’ I kept repeating despair-
fully a line from the poet Blake:
‘We walk alone.’ It still kept me
from thinking about uranium.”
“It didn’t keep you from think¬
ing about the message you wanted
to send,” I said. “You kept think¬
ing over and over, ‘I’d like to send
a message to Phobos to warn Jim.’
Over and over until, suddenly, that
flame caught on.
“There was ‘another captain’ on
Phobos who might know more about
flame nutrition and how to navigate
a space-time traveler with cones and
prisms for engines than Captain
Hardy. It had picked up the dot-
dash code from your random
thoughts and since you kept repeat¬
ing: ‘We walk alone’ it assumed that
those three words, sent across space,
would bring the other captain back
“So, not being human and all
wrapped up in self it went out on
the plain, alone, and burnt itself out
in convulsive flares.
“Flickerty-flash — flickerty — flash
— flash — flash — “We walk alone.”
“Sure,” McCarthy grunted. "It’s
but taking the high road you are
to say what you’ve plainly been
thinking. It’s a starry Victoria
Cross that flame should be wearing,
Jim, lad—eh, I mean, Captain.”
WE KNEW IT ALE THE TIME
Science fictionists weren't at all surprised, early this year, when the dis¬
covery of a planet, revolving around a sun outside the Solar System was an¬
nounced. Having explored the entire cosmos, science-fiction writers, and read¬
ers merely lifted an eyebrow and murmured: "It's about time."
The planet in question rotates around the sun 61 Cygni and is estimated
to be to that star as Jupiter is to our own sun, according to a dispatch published
in the New York Times some weeks back. Discoverer was one Dr. K. Aa.
The interesting feature about this discovery, however, is the name selected
for the planet. It seems that the Roman and Greek pantheon has been pretty
well used up in naming celestial bodies. And this particular planet deserved
something better than the cognomen of some obscure demigod. So Dr. Strand
did the sensible thing; he went to the Egyptian pantheon, which hasn't been
used at all so far, for this purpose, and dubbed the brand new world Osiris.
We wonder who the first fictional hero to land upon Osiris will be, and
if he'll discover a world peopled with beings similar to the Egyptian god-
creatures. As you'll recall, they were rather fascinating entities!
The time-machine had been tested and approved by the best
scientists and physicists in the Reich; Geopolitik had mapped out
plans for its use. But Hitler had his own personal ideas on how this
machine could change history — and in a sense, he was right; it
did change history!
The word had re¬
sounded through the
halls of Berchtesgaden before. But
this time they carried a new mean¬
ing, for they came from the lips of
The sallow little man standing be¬
fore him in the private apartment
“I am pleased and honored that the
Fuehrer approves of my work,” he
whispered, huskily. “If the Fuehrer
desires, I can explain the principles
on which my time-chamber operates.”
Hitler’s hand rose to command
“Your theories? My dear Schultz,
your theories do not matter. Your
time-machine has been inspected,
tested, and approved by the most
eminent physicists and scientists in
the Reich. We of the Reich are
thorough. If your claims were not
founded in truth, you would not now
be my guest in Berchtesgaden.”
Adolf Hitler rose, leaned forward.
“Ah, no, I do not concern myself
with your theories of invention. It
is enough that you have achieved the
seemingly impossible. You have
constructed a working model of a
machine capable of transporting men
or objects through time itself.”
Hitler’s frown cut off the sallow
“It means victory, do you under¬
He advanced across the room to
the vast, gleaming silver shell which
rested weirdly in the center. His
fingers rose to press against the
“We of the Reich move swiftly,
Schultz,” he whispered. “Already
the Geopolitik has prepared for me
a complete documentary survey of
The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ * 89
the potentialities inherent in this re¬
markable invention. It shall be of
invaluable assistance to us in the
days to come.”
“I too have dreamed,” he mur¬
mured. “We could build many hun¬
dreds of these and with them move
forward or backwards in time as we
willed. We could attack—”
Hitler shook his head.
“The expense is too great. Besides,
I have other plans. Plans I mean to
execute swiftly. Which reminds me.
You have the documents concerning
this invention of yours?”
Schultz nervously proffered his
“The method of operation is sim¬
ple. A child could master the con¬
trols. Mathematical calculations are
almost unnecessary, due to the prin¬
ciples of spatial inhibition embodied
in the construction.”
“In other words, it is all here in
this briefcase—all that is essential to
the building and operation of the
“That is correct.”
“Then, Herr Schultz, our little in¬
terview is at an end.”
His hand went to a buzzer.
The blacfi^hirted man entered
quietly. He took Schultz by the arm
and ushered him out.
Hitler nodded. “Germany will not
forget your contribution, Schultz,” he
T HE door closed. Hitler sat alone
in the room, staring at the brief¬
case, then at the silver chamber of
He pressed a buzzer on the inter¬
“Kellzer? Bauer has taken Schultz.
He has his orders. Dispose of the
body quickly. Notify his relatives
of the accident as planned.”
He released his finger. Again Hit¬
ler sat back, his stare intensified.
Again he sounded the buzzer.
“Kellzer? Send Eglitz to me at
once. Eglitz. Gestapo staff. The
Within a space of a few minutes,
young Karl Eglitz clicked his heels
smartly before the Fuehrer’s desk.
“Eglitz—you have heard of what
has been going on?”
“The Fuehrer refers to this Schultz
person and his invention?”
“I assisted in drawing up the re¬
port on it.”
“Good. Then you understand.
Eglitz—do you think you could
operate this machine?”
“Eglitz—do you speak French?”
“The Fuehrer must know that I
have lived in France.”
“So.” Hitler was silent for a mo¬
ment. “Eglitz—I have heard good
reports of your character and ability.
You are a reliable man.” He paused.
“I have a mission for such a man.”
“I am honored.”
“It is a mission of the utmost im¬
portance, and as such it is extreme¬
ly confidential. No one will know
of it but the two of us.”
“The Fuehrer forgets that the
Geopolitik knows of ttie uses to
which the machine will be put.”
“Wrong, Eglitz. This is a mission
of my own—one that the Geopolitik
never dreamed of. Eglitz, I have
conceived of a use for this time-
chamber which will stagger human¬
ity. And you shall carry it out!
“It is a mission that will win the
war—win the world! It embodies
an idea so stunning in its impact
that even I, whose inspiration con¬
ceived it, am humbled before it.”
“The Fuehrer can trust me.”
“Then listen, Eglitz. Listen to the
mission I have planned for you. Lis¬
Hitler whispered. Eglitz listened.
His mechanical smile never left his
face, but as the Fuehrer continued,
a little gasp rose involuntarily from
his throat. Beads of moisture ap¬
peared upon his forehead. His hands
clenched. And still Hitler whispered
“So. That is your mission, Eglitz.
Do you think you can carry it out?”
The Gestapo man’s voice quavered.
“I—might,” he managed. “It will
take several days of preparation. Re-
90 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
search. I must find out when he was
in Cologne. We must take the ma¬
chine there, too. I must study docu¬
ments pertaining to his daily routine,
pick a time.”
“The resources of the Reich are
yours to command,” Hitler answered.
“You must not fail. If you succeed,
we shall triumph beyond our wildest
“I shall prepare.” Eglitz backed
towards the door.
Hitler sat alone once more, smiling
still. Suddenly he rose and walked
to a corner ledge.
A little bronze bust rested there
•—the head of a stout man with pierc¬
ing eyes; a man whose hanging fore¬
lock rested on a majestic brow.
Hitler stared at the bronze head
and his smile widened.
“They say you were master of
Destiny, too,” he whispered. “But I
wonder if you ever dreamed of an
enterprise as great as this? An en¬
terprise defying space and time? You
crossed the Alps—but I cross cen¬
turies. Napoleon, the world will soon
learn you have a master!”
The time-chamber, the bronze bust,
and the ruler of Germany stood mo¬
tionless in the twilight while Des¬
tiny wove a web to enshroud them
T HE smile had not faded from
Adolf Hitler’s face before the
wavering outlines of the metal cham¬
ber disappeared from sight. The room
in Hitler’s Cologne headquarters still
pulsed with the humming vibrations
of the time-chamber. Eglitz had en¬
tered it and disappeared. And now
the chamber had disappeared.
For a moment there was nothing¬
ness. Then slowly the blurring con¬
tours of the silver machine material¬
ized, looming irrationally out of the
air in the way a slide specimen
emerges from a blank microscopic
field. The humming vibration in¬
creased as the chamber solidified.
Then came silence.
Hitler strode forward abruptly.
“Something has gone wrong,” he
rasped. “A mistake—”
The compartment door opened
slowly in the silver side. The tall
figure of Eglitz emerged stooping
through the doorway. Eglitz drew
himself erect in formal salute.
Adolf Hitler stared in astonish¬
ment. Eglitz had changed. His
usual uniform was gone. Instead he
wore a gaudy scarlet coat with green
pipings, and his braided yellow trous¬
ers were tucked into shiny black
boots. A sword dangled from an
elaborate scabbard fastened about his
waist by a white sash. In one hand
he carried a bushy black busby with
a green cockade. Moreover, his
usual smooth-shaven countenance had
disappeared under an imposing false
mustache which quite dwarfed Hit¬
“Eglitz—back so soon?”
“Surely the Fuehrer realizes I
have been absent a week?”
“A week? Are you raving, im¬
becile? You have been gone less
than ten seconds.”
“Time—a week to me, ten seconds
to the Fuehrer. It is relative, as
Einstein has it—”
“Do not mention that person’s
name,” Hitler scowled. Then, “Speak
up, man! What of your mission?
Did you get there? Was he there?
Did you bring him?” Hitler’s voice
quivered with frantic impatience.
“I am pleased - to report to the
Fuehrer that, according to instruc¬
tions, I arrived at the Imperial Pal¬
ace at Cologne on July sixth, 1807,
at 9:15 p. m. In keeping with my
orders, I assumed the disguise of
military attache of the Grand
“Where is he?"
Hitler’s voice was a knife.
“I am here.”
T HE low tones came from the
throat of the man in the door¬
way of the time-chamber.
The short, stocky figure descended.
Hitler stared into the swarthy, fleshy
face, stared at the majestic brow and
the hanging forelock, stared into the
deep-set, burning eyes of
“Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of
The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ ★ 91
He whispered the words.
The little man inclined his head.
“Indeed, sire. And you are—”
“Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler.”
Two hands clasped. A fat, pudgy
hand, and a lean, limp one. Two
hands clasped—hands that had held
the earth and crushed it, each in
their time._ Two hands clasped
across the centuries. The hands of
Napoleon and Hitler. Hands that
Eglitz stood there, gaping.
“Eglitz—I’d forgotten about you.
You may go now. You deserve a
rest after your journey to secure our
“The Fuehrer is kind. I assure
the Fuehrer that my task was not
easy. This Fouche, the Emperor’s
Chief of Police, has a system equal
to our own Gestapo. In order to—
ah—abduct the Emperor—”
“I’ve no time for that now, Eglitz.
You may go. Germany will not for¬
get your contribution, Eglitz.”
Hitler’s hand went to a buzzer.
“Kellzer? Eglitz has just left my
apartment. Send two troopers and
place him under arrest. No, not the
camp. Treason trial. He must be
disposed of within the hour. That
Hitler turned again to face his
“So,” he breathed. “You are here.”
Of the two, Napoleon was more at
“So I observe.”
“You are calm.”
“Resigned, let us say.”
“This must be a strange experience
“I am accustomed to the unusual.
Besides, your aide—this Eglitz, is
it not?—told me much on the voy¬
age. Despite the fact that he knocked
me over the head; virtually kid¬
napped me as it were, I bear him
no ill will. He seemed both friend¬
ly and intelligent.”
“He was—is,” Hitler agreed.
“He told me much of interest.
This is 1942, is it not? So much
seems to have happened. Naturally,
I am still a bit confused, as to the
reasons for all this.”
“Allow me to explain,” Hitler
“Very well. Your french, sire, is
“Perhaps. But I could not risk an
interpreter for what I am going to
tell you. Please be seated.”
■ >MPEROR and Dictator, seated
JCd at a table in the quiet room.
Emperor, Dictator, and the time-
chamber. Bridge between two worlds
of war. The room that had hummed
to the vibrations of a machine which
defied space and time now held the
whisper of voices whose echos had
“And so you see, that is why I
brought you here.” Hitler was hoarse
from his hour-long monologue. “I
am the master of my world. You
were the master of yours. Together
we can exercise twice the power.”
“Besides,” Hitler murmured, “I
need you. I would admit that to
no living man. But I need your
knowledge of military science—and
the inspired genius behind it. I have
made—mistakes. Mistakes which
must be rectified.”
Again the voice droned on, as
darkness deepened. From time to
time the two men rose and consulted
maps, charts, documentary material
which was brought from the other
It was nearly midnight when the
two weary men faced one another
across the long table.
“But there must be some solution,”
“Your military position is peril¬
ous,” Napoleon answered. “What is
worse, that position is irrevocable.
It cannot be changed.” Imperial
shoulders shrugged. “It was useless
for you to send for me. I had best
go back to my own day and place.
I tell you frankly—your offer of
joint partnership in this war is en¬
ticing, but it leads only to a hope¬
“You must help me,” Hitler grated.
“You must! You are Napoleon!”
92 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
“Yes. I am Napoleon. But I can¬
not change what exists,” answered
the Little Corporal, sadly.
Then his head jerked up.
“Wait. There is our solution!”
A pudgy finger stabbed towards
“What do you mean? Are you
“No madder than you. Sire, when
you sent your aide to kidnap me
through time. My solution is sim¬
“As we have seen, your difficulties
began at the outset of this war. In
September, 1939. You missed the op¬
portunity to invade England. You
did not check Russia. You failed in
your mission in the United States.”
“But that is past—over two years
ago. It is too late to change.”
“Is it? Why can’t we enter the
time-chamber and return to 1939? Re¬
turn to July of that year and plan
the war anew for September?”
Hitler was on his feet.
“Could we—dare we—?”
“You want the world? Very well,
we can obtain it. If you have the
courage to make the journey. Once
in 1939 we can rectify your previous
errors, anticipate the others. Profit
by experience. The war will be
waged properly then, with you and
me in command.”
Blurred voices in a midnight room.
Blurred figures moving towards the
silver machine. A nightmare vision
in a nightmare world. Napoleon,
Hitler, and a time-machine.
And then—only an empty room,
after all. The machine was gone.
Somewhere in the reaches of infinity,
two dictators sped back to remould
the past. The earth trembled in
I T was Napoleon who handled the
controls. The pudgy fingers of
Bonaparte, ex-lieutenant of artillery,
mastered the intricacies of the ma¬
chine’s working parts.
His interest in the principles of
operating the chamber had almost
exceeded his curiosity regarding the
operations of the war itself. But
Hitler had been patient. After all,
a visitor so distinguished must be
humored. And if Napoleon chose to
guide the time-chamber, it was well.
He, Hitler, had chosen to guide the
destinies of the world instead.
So they sat there, in the curious¬
ly vibrating metal shell. Napoleon’s
hands moved over the silver surface
of the panels in silent concentration.
Hitler’s hands twisted nervously in
There was silence, save for the
humming vibration—the silence of
two men moving through the un¬
known, the unnameable; twisting
through time on a mission to remould
the fate of the world.
Just two men—but two men un¬
like any of the myriad billions who
had preceded them on the face of
earth. Two men, each of whom in
his time had remoulded the face of
the earth; remoulded it with ruth¬
less surgery that left it torn and
Never two such men before, and
never such a journey....
Something of the import • must
have occurred to them both as they
sat there waiting for the vibrations
to cease. For they glanced at one
another suddenly, and their eyes met.
The eyes of Hitler met the eyes
of Napoleon, somewhere within the
emptiness of space and time. Met
and mingled in a flaming resolve. It
was the Fuehrer who addressed the
“In just a moment,” he whispered,
“we shall arrive. And the work will
begin. It was meant to be. You
and I—our greatness is such that
Fate itself has willed our union.
Your sun and my star shall rise to¬
gether in the heavens.”
It was the voice of the mystic that
rose above the humming; the voice
of megalomania triumphant.
“Perhaps?” Bonaparte echoed. His
dark eyes were filmed with sudden
wonderment. “And yet I wonder if
man can cheat his Fate?”
“I am Fate.” The harsh voice of
the Fuehrer rose. “As you shall
see.” His hand rose, extended. “Mas¬
ter of the world, and now master of
time and space itself! We have gone
far since your day, Napoleon. Your
armies would be blasted to bits by
The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ ★ 93
a single panzer division. But you’ve
seen that. You know how death can
leap from the skies, or hurtle through
the air from a hundred miles away.
You know how death creeps on,
above, and under the seas. You know
how entire continents may be
ravished by the flaming breath of
Napoleon smiled. “I too have made
speeches,” he declared, sardonically.
“But perhaps I have learned to re¬
gret some of the deeds accompany¬
“I do not regret and I shall not
regret,” Hitler retorted. “We are
returning to 1939. This time there
shall be no errors. England shall
be invaded swiftly. And France
He checked himself in time. A
frown had appeared on the Little
Corporal’s forehead. Did the fool
suspect? No. How could he? He
did not know what had happened to
France. He had been taken from
Germany in 1807 to Germany in 1942.
He didn’t know—but Hitler worried
about the frown.
“And France?” Napoleon echoed
softly. “What of France?”
“France shall share its rightful
place with Germany,” Hitler amend¬
T HE frown disappeared. In its
place came a slow smile. For
some reason Hitler didn’t like the
smile any better.
“That is well,” answered the Em¬
peror. “France shall hold its right¬
ful place, yes.”
Hitler was silent. His thoughts
raced swiftly. In a moment they
would arrive—arrive in 1939. It
would be late summer again. He and
Napoleon would enter into council.
The war would be plotted afresh;
with Hitler’s memories of two years
to come as an aid. Napoleon would
be helpful with strategy, extremely
helpful. His unbiased viewpoint
would aid in pointing out various
weaknesses even Hitler and his staff
And then, the war. Hitler’s war.
For he had decided finally. When
Napoleon’s work was over, he must
go. Hitler didn’t trust his frown
or his smile. The fool would never
stand for what would happen to
France. He’d be disposed of—this
Hitler’s dream of triumph glittered
in his eyes. What a final irony! Men
had always compared him to Napo¬
leon. Thought it a compliment when
they termed him an equal. Well,
Hitler would be superior to the
French conqueror. His greatest vic¬
“Wait! Do you feel that?”
Napoleon’s voice cut through Hit¬
“I think we’ve arrived.”
Yes. The vibrations were diminish¬
ing. The humming and droning
within the metal chamber slackened.
In a moment there was a curious lit¬
tle bump—not a physically-felt bump,
but a sort of shifting and settling
sensation in the consciousness of
both men. As though they had been
spinning in a void and suddenly set
down on something solid.
Napoleon rose. His pompous little
body moved towards the compart¬
ment door. Hitler followed. Now
his smile was broad. Napoleon
couldn’t see him. Instead he led the
way—led the way to Hitler’s triumph
and his own doom.
The door swung open as the Em¬
peror’s fingers moved over the bolts
and handles. Napoleon stood on the
threshold, breathed deeply. Then he
Hitler moved forward swiftly. He
could hardly wait. To emerge
again on the eve of victory—
Hitler stepped out.
Into the arms of two waiting
“Hold this man!”
Napoleon’s voice barked the order.
Hitler struggled in the grip of
“What is this? Why—”
He stared upwards into the mus-
tached visages of two Grenadiers.
They were huge shakos and gaudy
green uniforms. The uniforms of
Hitler’s eyes roved wildly about
the great chamber in which the ma-
94 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
chine rested. It was a court apart¬
ment—luxuriantly appointed in the
styles of Napoleon’s day.
And standing before him, no long¬
er an incongruous figure, but with
the air of a master in his own time
and place, was Napoleon.
Again Hitler saw the smile on the
lips of the Emperor.
H ITLER heard his voice through
a swirling mist.
“We are here, Adolf Hitler—but in
a time and place of my own choos¬
ing. The hour has arrived—but it is
the hour of my destiny, not yours!
“We have returned to the day on
which you abducted^me. We are in
Cologne, in my German palace, in
Again Hitler saw the smile and
shuddered. Napoleon advanced and
“You fool! Did you believe I
would forsake my own destiny for
yours? I handled the controls—and
I set them for this day again. I
want to live my own life, complete
the mission of conquest on which I
embarked. So I have returned to
my own time.”
Hitler’s head whirled. He tem¬
“But you and I—we could have
ruled a greater world together—I of¬
fered you everything—”
“Adolf Hitler, I do not want your
kind of world.” The Emperor’s voice
rose to a knell of doom. “Your aide,
the' man who brought me to you, was
careless. He let hints slip on the
journey through time. He told me
what you did to my France.”
“Did you think I was fooled? No,
I knew all along. You and your
hordes trampled over my land, rav¬
aged it. And I swore to avenge my
country. I shall do so, in my own
“Hitler, I am a warrior, a conquer¬
or. But I am not a mad butcher!
And I do not intend to unleash you
once again upon my people.
“You and your crazy theories of
racial superiority—of men who must
kill like beasts in order to live! I
am going to save France and the
world from you.”
Hitler wet his cracked lips. “What
are you going to do?” he whispered.
Napoleon gestured curtly.
“Guards—place this man back in
The Grenadiers dragged the Fueh¬
rer across the floor. His face was
ashen. His voice rose to entreaty.
“What are you going to do?”
“There is no place here in my
world for your kind. There is no
place in the world to come—1939 or
1942, or any year. There never will
be a place again for men with your
“In all the ages, I know of only
one time when the world would wel¬
come your vile ideas. There you
must go, to a world where the weak
perish and only the strong survive.
And I wish you joy!”
They were inside the chamber now.
Napoleon’s hands were moving over
the controls. A tinkling sound
splintered the silence.
“What was that?”
“I have smashed the adjustment
dials,” he announced. “You are em¬
barked on a one-way journey.”
The guards backed out of the
compartment. Napoleon followed. He
stood in the metal doorway before
closing the door.
“Goodbye, Adolf Hitler,” he mur¬
mured. “You are going to seek your
rightful destiny at last.”
Hitler rose with a snarl, lunged
But the iron door of the time-
chamber clanged hollowly in his
face. And a humming rose to mingle
with Hitler’s anguished scream.
T HE humming rose and rose. It
filled Hitler’s head, throbbed
through it. It was a dark drone,
filling his brain with the black mut¬
tering of doom.
Hitler lay in the darkness while
fear pulsed through his being. Lay
there for endless eons, lay there for
an eternity—as he sped through eons
and eternity alike.
But when the humming finally
The Machine That Changed History ★ * ★ 95
subsided, he had conquered his dread.
He sat up sharply when he felt the
curious adjustment sensation which
meant the time-chamber had arrived.
Hitler drew a deep breath.
He was here.
Napoleon had done it. The con¬
trols were beyond repair. He was
here, and he’d face the future un¬
Napoleon had outwitted him, yes.
But no use crying over spilt milk.
The Emperor was crafty—but a fool,
for all that! He was back again in
1807, strutting across the stage of
history, playing the tyrant—but Hit¬
ler knew what Napoleon did not
know. Knew that there was a Water¬
loo lying ahead for the Emperor in
eight short years. What sweet re¬
venge ! That 1 ng exile ahead!
And he, Hitler, had been exiled.
But he could still mould his future
freshly, in whatever time he found
Hitler smiled grimly. Yes. Napo¬
leon forgot that he, Adolf Hitler,
could shape his own destiny. Hadn’t
he risen from humble house-painter
to mighty warlord in the complexity
of the modern world? Well, with
his brain and vision, his knowledge
of men and the future, he could start
He wondered where Napoleon had
“Where the weak perish and only
the strong survive.” That might be
ancient Rome. Barbarian times. Well,
that was hardly a sad fate. He’d
learn. He’d make adjustments. He
knew men and he knew History.
Wherever it was, Adolf Hitler could
always rule in a world where strength
ruled over weakness.
He rose, stepped to the chamber.
He unbolted it slowly, pushed it
open. He drew another deep breath.
The fresh air was sweet and clean.
Smiling, Adolf Hitler stepped out
onto a grassy sward. His eyes blinked
in the sunlight.
He stood on a hillside which rose
like a grassy island amidst a sea of
lush vegetation. Why, it was like
a tropical forest!
Blinking again, he walked across
the turf. The ground was soft, al¬
most steaming with moisture beneath
his feet. *
Where was he? In what time did
he exist? Where were the cities
of Germany, the people?
Hitler shook his head. His vision
Then he saw them emerge from
the forest at his right. They came
swiftly. He wheeled in panic.
Too late! The others were creep¬
ing up on him from the rear, cutting
off his return to the door of the
Adolf Hitler stood surrounded by
a ring—a ring of advancing figures.
He stared at the figures and under¬
stood Napoleon’s parting words at
He stared at a band of ape-like
shamblers—shamblers that had only
the faces of men. Their shaggy
bodies were covered with long, yel¬
lowish fur. Blonde fur. They were
powerful, grinning in their strength.
And their deep, chuckling laughter
was filled with hatred—the hatred of
the strong for the weak.
Strong. Blonde. Brutes living in
a time where he could find his right¬
As the monsters closed in on him,
Adolf Hitler’s screams rose from the
little forest hillside in the Stone
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No. 2 VALLEY OF PRETENDERS
THE ANSWER °„v
Everything about John
Smith was strange ex¬
cept his name. But
even Smith did not
suspect the astounding
truth about himself and
his origin, until the
weird messenger came
out of space to answer
the riddle of the ages!
P ROFESSOR JOHN SMITH
turned from the vision piece
of the huge electro-telescope,
stared fixedly at the girl waiting with
the pencil poised over her notebook.
The eyes of the young Director of
Bosworth Observatory were steel-
gray, the irises drilling points from
which radiated tiny flecks of chipped
steel, inlaid in the gray obsidian of
cornea. The full fixity of their gaze
seemed to hold people in an unbreak¬
able mental grip, filled them with a
strange unease. John Smith had
learned to see from the corners of
his eyes, or to flick them swiftly
across the features of others, so as to
spare them the strange force of the
98 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories
mentality that blazed from those liv¬
But that didn’t apply to the crea¬
ture who now registered on the su¬
persensitive retinas—a raven-haired,
full-lipped specimen of feminity
whose flashing black eyes gazed bold¬
ly into John Smith’s without flinch¬
ing. She didn’t mind being locked in
that strange mental grip. She was
his wife and Observatory assistant.
John Smith nodded silently and
turned back to the vision piece of
the telescope. Now his eyes changed
subtly in color, color that admitted
wavelengths of light that did not
register on ordinary retinas. He dic¬
tated in a low, vibrant voice that
seemed to belong with such eyes. . .
The pencil in the girl’s hand flew
swiftly over the pad. “The object is
speeding earthward,” it wrote, “be¬
tween the orbits of Mars and Earth.
It is tiny, faint, and not perceptible
to ordinary eyesight.”
Ordinary eyesight! Astronomers
who studied that report would know
what it meant; that Professor John
Smith’s supersensitive retinas could
discern celestial objects invisible to
normal vision. Objects emitting light
so faint it took hours to pile up an
image on photograph plates.
Eye experts had been dumbfounded
in testing John Smith’s eyes, partic¬
ularly when he had detected the faint
blur of a bullet leaving a gun barrel.
“Superfast perception reactions,’’
they had mumbled pompously, to hide
their befuddlement. A few years ago,
visiting an observatory, Smith had
seen Halley’s Comet returning in its
predicted path, weeks before it could
be detected by others. He had im¬
mediately been offered a position in
Bosworth Observatory, housing the
world’s largest telescope, and had
risen rapidly to the Directorship.
Yes, everything about John Smith
was strange—everything but his
“The object,” his low vibrant voice
went on, “was discovered yesterday.
If it follows its present path it should
pass very close t< earth within two
days. . .” His voice trailed off. Black¬
haired Leona Smith glanced at her
husband questioningly, pencil poised.
He was peering intently into the eye¬
piece, his expression strained.
“What now, Professor?” she said
banteringly. “Was it just a ghost-
image after all?”
His strong, sensitive features did
not relax. His faintly curved lips
barely moved as he spoke. “It is an
artificial object—a spaceship!”
The weight of the discovery threw
a mantle of awed silence about them
both. Was a new chapter in Earth’s
history to be written? Was there to
be, for the first time, a visitant from
Then Leona sprang to the eyepiece,
peered in. She rose presently, shak¬
ing her black tresses. “I can’t see a
thing. It’s still too faint.”
Smith passed a strong lean hand
over his broad forehead. “You are
normal,” he muttered huskily. “I’m
cross-circuited in some way. My
strange eyesight, the uneasiness I
cause in people. Why?”
I T WAS a complete mystery to
him. He had known a normal
childhood in an orphanage, a normal
life. Normal, except for that strange
sensation, at intervals, of being under
surveillance. With maturity, this
phenomenon had become rarer.
Leona gazed at him fondly for a
moment, then broke the silence. “You
go on the air in five minutes,” she
reminded him practically. “Your
chats about the stars program, you
know. People don’t seem to fear your
John Smith waved aside the pre¬
pared script she thrust toward him.
“My mind : s too full of the strange
spaceship approaching earth. I’ll talk
about that. Oh, I know the Observa¬
tory trustees will consider it sensa¬
tionalism. Nonetheless, I’ll risk it.
People should be interested.”
He stepped before the television
apparatus set up in the Observatory
for his convenience. He delighted
in these broadcasts, for they took him
into millions of homes, made him feel
he was partaking of normal, everyday
life like other people. His vibrant,
hypnotic voice went out on the night
air to entrance millions.
When he had said “good night”
The Answer Out of Space ★ ★ ★ 99
twenty minutes later, the girl had his
street clothes ready. Their working
schedule—also their appetites—called
for a light supper at this time each
night, for which they descended to
Smith paused for a word with Car¬
ter, the second Observatory assistant.
“Since you can not yet see the object,
I will relocate it upon my return, if
it has passed out of the field of view
by that time.” A moment later the
young couple were stepping out of
the towering observatory structure at
the lower-level traffic-way.
In 1998 the only direction astro¬
nomical observatories could go to es¬
cape civilization was up. To describe
it exactly, the cities were all in the
country. The vibration-proof struc¬
ture of the Bosworth Observatory
towered far above the polarized light¬
ing of the lower levels at which
moved the mass of humanity. Smith
steeled himself instinctively, as he
always did, against the inevitable,
often startled stares that his appear¬
ance in public invariably caused.
Though none could have told how he
differed from others, people gazed at
him half-awedly, then hurried on, in¬
stinct whispering to them of strange
qualities about the strongly knit,
somehow godlike figure of John
Smith. People don’t like to experi¬
ence unfamiliar emotions. . .
“There’s a man crossing the traffic
way on foot,” ejaculated Leona sud¬
denly. “He seems in an awful hur¬
ry. He is heading this way, as if to
The young astronomer flashed his
steel-flecked eyes in the indicated di¬
rection. On those sensitive retinas
there registered a figure of a lone
pedestrian hurrying across the
brightly lighted boulevard. His man¬
ner was urgent, his gaze on Smith
with an odd intensity.
The girl cried out. Smith tensed.
A huge robot-bus was bearing down
silently but swiftly on the intent
“jaywalker.” Oblivious to the fifteen
tons of rushing, silent death, the man
came on, his strangely rigid face
John Smith shouted, gesticulated,
but even as he did so he knew the
robot-bus was too close. And the
witless robot at the controls failed
to react to this unusual violation of
the traffic-way by a walker. Leona
thought she could hear the dull thud.
Passengers screamed, people on the
walk-way shouted. The bus swept
on, and a groan rose from the crowd
—a sound that changed to amazed
ejaculations. For the man stood there,
unharmed! The bus had narrowly
missed him. People’s eyes had played
them false. The suddenly gathered
crowd quickly dispersed.
But they had not seen what had
registered on the acute retinas of
John Smith, focused there through
eyes that had changed subtly in col¬
or. In that fractional instant as the
robot-bus approached, a drama had
been played out for his eyes alone.
The walker had suddenly become
aware of the bus, only feet from him.
WWATHER, his outlines had
Mw abruptly become vague, insub¬
stantial, invisible to all but Smith.
And the rushing bus had passed right
through him. Then again he was
solid, unharmed. All had happened
so swiftly that no eyes but those of
Smith could have followed the amaz¬
Now the man was again hurrying
toward the young couple. They stood
waiting, Smith’s face strangely grim.
Super-keen eyes probing, he sized up
the man. Deliberately he avoided
looking directly at the strange blur
that hovered near the approaching
stranger. He was about Smith’s
build, could have been Smith’s age—
29. The young scientist was struck
by the colorless appearance of the
man. His eyes, wide on Smith, were
shadowed by overhanging brows over
a pasty, unnatural-looking face.
Smith struggled for a word to de¬
scribe the man’s expression. Imper¬
sonal—that was it! Yet, he radiated
a strange force.
He halted before the waiting cou¬
ple. “I must apologize for creating
this—excitement,” he stammered. His
voice was monotonous, his eyes re¬
fused to meet Smith’s steel-flecked
ones. “I have just heard your broad-
100 ★ ★ ★ Seier.ce Fiction Stories
cast about a strange object—a space¬
ship—approaching Earth! My name
is . . . Om; yes, Om. I beg of you
to permit me to view it through the
big telescope.” There was a sup¬
pressed urgency in his voice.
“But the object is still too faint for
ordinary—” Leone began, then broke
off at a warning glance from her hus¬
“I realize the Observatory is closed
to the public,” the man went on, “but
I must see this approaching object.”
His eyes still refused to meet
Smith’s. Agitation was evident in
his manner. Smith found it difficult
to refrain from looking at that blur
to one side of “Om.” He nodded
shortly, turned and silently led the
way into the entrance of the tower¬
ing Observatory structure.
In the automatic elevator, he care¬
fully placed himself between the
stranger and Leona. He jabbed the
button, staring straight ahead. He
could watch the man and his accom¬
panying blur from the corner of his
eyes. . .
In the Observatory, Smith adjust¬
ed the telescope to bring the object
again into view, then nodded to Om,
who sprang avidly to the eyepiece.
Smith stood back, his face set, grim.
He didn’t intend to lose sight of that
blur. . .
Om peered for a long moment into
the eyepiece. Then he rose, sup¬
pressed excitement in his every ges¬
ture. “It is merely a nebulous wisp
of matter, not a spaceship!” Om’s
voice was persuasive.
“It is a spaceship,” retorted Smith
coolly. “I have calculated its likely
point of approach to earth. I shall
be on hand when it arrives.”
“Oh, no.” The stranger dropped
his persuasive manner. “You must
not meet it. I warn you. Do not
be present when it arrives. Stay
what you are!”
“But that’s absurd,” Smith broke in
sharply. “Of course I shall attempt
to contact the occupants of the ship.
This is a tremendous event!” Smith
ignored that curious ending remark
of the creature. It seemed utterly
“Then—then I shall have to stop
you with my own methods,” the man
stammered, his voice apologetic. His
shaded eyes seemed desperately try¬
ing to avoid the direct gaze of
Smith’s penetrating ones. They wav¬
ered, fastened to Smith’s, hung there.
Sudden fright seemed to wrinkle the
rigid features. Om staggered back,
still staring into Smith’s slitted eyes.
He was straining under a terrific
Then—Smith reeled. Something
seemed to pass from Om’s mind into
his own. He was almost on the verge
of a staggering knowledge. Then it
was blacked out. Simultaneously the
visitor made a last contortive effort,
his eyes rolled—and he vanished!
But not entirely to Smith’s keen
sight. Where before there had been
one blur, now there were two, mov¬
ing swiftly toward the door.
T HE girl cried out, sprang to
Smith’s side. What had hap¬
pened? He shook his head dazedly.
That sudden perception as though the
other man had unwillingly let down
his telepathic guard! John Smith
had seemed to glimpse into a strange
vista that was now only a ghost of a
With an oath he whirled. “Shut
that door,” he barked to Carter, who
was standing a few yards off, jaws
agape. “There’s Something in here
that mustn’t get out!” But even as
he spoke there was a blur of motion
at the open entrance. Smith dashed
into the hall. The door of the auto¬
matic elevator slammed shut in his
face. On ground level, a puzzled
watchman stared as the elevator door
slid open and Nothing emerged. . .
Leona was at the eyepiece of the
telescope when Smith reentered the
Observatory. She looked up. “I still
can’t see the spaceship,” she mur¬
mured. “That creature, Om, must
have eyesight as keen as yours,
“Hardly remarkable, in view of his
other powers,” snapped Smith. “I’ve
never been able to vanish.” Briefly
he told the girl about the strange
vanishment and reappearance of Om
on the traffic-way. “There were two
of them,” he went on. “One visible.
The Answer Out of Space ★ ★ ★ 101
the other a blur. In the Observa¬
tory, the visible one became a blur,
too, and both blurs escaped down the
The next evening the spaceship,
an elongated teardrop, was closer, al¬
most visible against the backdrop of
space. Its surface. Smith decided,
had been treated optically so as to
render it invisible to normal human
vision, and telescopes. Probably by
some technique of light interference,
absorbing instead of reflecting inci¬
dent light rays. Definitely, it was
heading for Earth, should land the
next afternoon at this rate of ap¬
“Why did this creature, Om, try
to argue you out of meeting the
ship,” Leona wondered.
Smith’s handsome face was darkly
grim. “Probably because the occu¬
pants are other creatures like him,”
he said. "It could be that Om is an
advance agent of some alien race, and
the spaceship occupants are others.
It seems logical.”
“But couldn’t the space ship easily
avoid discovery?” asked the girl.
“Why should Om be concerned that
you would be able to find its landing
Smith nodded. “That is peculiar.
Perhaps its path cannot be changed,
and it is headed for this city. If so,
I can use Bill Johnson’s landing
drome, send out a tractor ray and
bring it in. I’ll see Bill in the morn¬
“I’m coming, too,” said Leona, and
Smith knew she meant it. In inter¬
cepting the strange ship, Smith knew
he could not count on assistance from
other scientists. Despite his pres¬
tige, many astronomers had expressed
skepticism concerning the “space¬
ship” Smith had announced in his
broadcast. None could see it, no
images could be captured on photo¬
graphic plates. It had not been in¬
tended that earth scientists should
discover the ship, Smith felt sure. . .
He reached over for the insistently
buzzing telephone. It was the watch¬
man at ground-level. “Professor
Smith,” the fellow blurted, “there’s
an old fellow down here who de¬
mands to see you. Says he’s a physi¬
cian. Wants to see you about a vis¬
itor you had yesterday evening. He
acts like a wildman, refuses to leave.
Shall I call police—”
“Send him up,” snapped Smith.
Brows lifted, he turned to Leona. “A
physician—and he’s learned somehow
about our strange visitor. Sounds
strangely significant. .
A moment later Carter was admit¬
ting an aged, professional-appearing
man. His watery eyes were distend¬
ed, wavering. They rested on Smith
and he staggered over, grasped the
youthful Director’s arm. “He’s show¬
ing himself at last!” he cried hoarse¬
“Who is?” demanded Smith —
though he had a creeping suspicion.
T HE old man waved a newspaper
clipping before Smith’s nose. It
was headed: “Mysterious Doings in
Bosworth Observatory.” Smith read
the small print: “Discovery of ghost¬
ly spaceships is not the only accom¬
plishment at the Bosworth Observa¬
tory. It has been visited by a ghost
in person! It seems that Prof. Smith,
the Director, admitted a visitor last
night to look at the ‘ghost ship’, and
the visitor himself turned out to be
a ghost. The visitor suddenly van¬
ished from sight, according to the
watchman, who got it from Dr. Car¬
ter, who actually saw it happen. The
ghost used the elevator to ride down
in, according to the watchman. . .”
Smith crumbled the clipping, his
eyes glinting. He looked around for
the indiscreet assistant.
The old man put a restraining hand
on his arm. “I want to know only
one thing. Is that the truth? Did
the visitor actually vanish in this ob¬
servatory? I ask not from idle curi¬
osity, but from fear—deadly fear!”
Smith nodded. “A person calling
himself ‘Om’ was here,” he said dry¬
ly. “Yes, he vanished!”
The old physician groaned. “I
feared so,” he muttered. “My name
is Hoagland. I am the physician who,
29 years ago, presided at the birth
of Cunningham—‘Om’s’ real name is
Leona and John Smith exchanged
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“His parents were—ordinary hu¬
mans,” whispered the girl.
Hoagland nodded absently, his
eyes wide and staring as if at some
inner vision. “For nearly 25 years I
have lived under a pall of fear,” he
went on tonelessly. “Cringing at ev¬
ery unexplained occurrence. Always
I wondered if Cunningham—or Om—
was at last showing his hand.”
He settled reluctantly into the
chair Smith indicated, looked from
one to the other of the young couple,
his irises black and expanded. “I
heard your broadcast about a space¬
ship approaching,” he said. “Then
when I read that newspaper clipping
I put two and two together. I real¬
ized your visitor must be he whom I
delivered into the world 29 years ago.
I witnessed the creature’s power to
vanish, in its childhood. For 25 years
he has remained out of sight. Now
—your broadcast about an approach¬
ing spaceship brings him into the
“Let us get this straight. Doctor,”
broke in Smith curtly. “Are you tell¬
ing us that this creature we know as
Om was delivered into the world by
you from a human mother? Why
has the world not heard? Surely the
birth of a human being with these
strange powers was an event of
Hoagland nodded numbly, his eyes
darting toward the shadows in the
Observatory. His seamed face
worked. “It was all my fault. I was
an ambitious young doctor, jealous of
my discovery. I wished to astound
the world by the announcement after
I had collected indisputable data. I
failed to report the real facts to the
Medical Board. The mother passed
on a short time after the birth, and
the father followed a few months lat¬
er. I secured legal guardianship.
When I had decided finally to reveal
my findings it was too late. I would
not have been credited in the absence
of the evidence. Guiltily, I held my
peace. You see, the quadruplets van¬
ished from my home when they were
a few months over four years—”
“Quadruplets!” shot out Smith.
“You mean Om is one of four—”
“Not one of four —four ot one!”
The Answer Out of Spaee
hissed the old man fiercely. “One
ego, one identity, inhabiting and con¬
trolling four physical selves.”
He relaxed, in the stunned silence
that followed. “Excuse me,” he went
on, “for not having spoken plainer.
The fact is that Nature, at last, has
produced — Superman! Indeed, the
evidence that nature was working to¬
ward this type of human has been
before us right along. It was appro¬
priate that Cunningham, a brilliant
scientific genius, and his beautiful,
aesthetic wife, should have been the
first to produce the new type—”
“To what ‘evidence’ do you refer?”
broke in Smith.
“What are identical twins?” shot
back Hoagland. “What are triplets,
quadruplets, even quintuplets? They
are attempts by nature to produce a
multiple being. The close rapport
existing between identical twins,
triplets and the rest is a known fact.
But only in the Cunningham quad¬
ruplets—in Om—has nature at last
fully succeeded. Succeeded in creat¬
ing a human that is one self, one ego,
controlling four separate physical at¬
tributes or bodies!”
“But how would that give him
these strange powers,” gasped Leona.
S ILENTLY, Smith passed Hoag¬
land a drink of brandy.
“This is the way I have reasoned
it out,” went on the physician. “Man,
as a single being, has reached the lim¬
it of his mental powers. Basic hu¬
man intelligence has not increased
for many hundreds of years. Man’s
intelligence has been limited by the
fact that he has only one mind, one
center of conscious thought. The in¬
teraction of the brain neurons is all
sifted through this one, sharply lim¬
ited conscious mind.
“Om, in his four physical selves,
has four conscious minds, four sparks
of awareness, all bounden to the one
central ego, all pouring the result of
mental activity into the lap of this
ego, for coordination. This plural¬
ity of conscious minds gives a mental
perspective, just as two eyes give
visual perspective. Visual perspec¬
tive gives a perception of distance,
(Continued On Page 104)
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(Continued From Page 103)
size and shape. Om’s four-fold
mental perspective gives him a per¬
ception of time and space and mo¬
tion—the trinity in which the very
“A prerogative of the four-fold
mentality is the ability to control the
vibratory rate of matter. That is
how he vanishes. Even the name he
has given himself—Om—is no coinci¬
dence. It is the first syllable of the
Hoagland stopped suddenly,
whirled about as the door slid open.
“Only Carter entering,” murmured
Smith, his voice slightly edged as he
remembered the newspaper clipping.
Leona was leaning forward, lips
parted, coal black eyes wide on Dr.
Smith pressed the old man back
into his chair. “You lost control of
the quadruplets?” he asked.
“Yes. I was continually spying
upon them, to get data as to their
suspected oneness of identity. Two
of them, present in the high-frequen¬
cy—or invisible—condition, abruptly
appeared solidly before me, glaring
at me with more than childish wrath,
at this invasion of their privacy. It
gave me a shock I can tell you. That
was the first I knew of their posses¬
sion of this power.”
He paused, continued. “But my
climactic error was in permitting
them once, to play with normal
neighborhood children. Perhaps the
quadruplets innocently displayed
their strange powers. Perhaps the
other children intuitively sensed their
difference. Children are merciless
toward any deviation from the norm.
They drove the Cunningham chil¬
dren off with sticks and stones. The
developing, sensitive ego doubtless
realized then the impossibility of
ever being accepted by human so¬
ciety. Doubtless they read this in the
minds of the other children, in the
minds of myself and my wife, in the
composite thoughts reaching them
from all sides.
“And it is unlikely that the ego, in
maturity, has seen anything of hu¬
man nature to cause it to revise its
opinion of its likely treatment,
The Answer Out of Space
should its real nature, its superiority
to the race, become known.”
“They ran away?” asked Leona, her
Hoagland nodded. “Almost imme¬
diately after their experience with
the normal children—they were then
four years of age. Vanished without
a trace. Nor did I report it, for fear
of complications. Not that it is like¬
ly the police could have located them.
Somehow, they have kept hidden all
these years, reaching maturity’s full
powers. And now, Om shows up to
interest himself in a spaceship from
the void!” He shuddered.
Smith was silent, thinking. The
old man suffered from conscience, yet
Smith could not entirely discount his
fears. How was Om connected with
the approaching spaceship, and why
did he warn Smith against being
present when it arrived?
He related the episode of the ro¬
bot-van, of the manner in which the
van had apparently passed through
“He saw the oncoming bus in time,”
Hoagland hazarded, “and passed in¬
stantly into his high-frequency con¬
dition. Solid matter could pass
through him in that state!”
“It jibes with my observations,”
agreed Smith absently. “The visible
self was accompanied by one of the
other selves, in the blurred, high-fre¬
quency state. That accounts for two
of the four. Where are the other two
CCrrasy can doubtless travel
JB. about independently of one
another," said Hoagland, “retaining
their telepathic rapport each with the
others—” He paused suddenly, sat up
with a jerk. Sudden suspicion ap¬
peared in his watery eyes. “How is
it?” he said thickly, “that they were
visible to you in their high-frequency
Smith shrugged wearily. “My eyes
are somewhat more acute than the
average, due, I suppose,” he finished
lamely, “to constant use of the tele¬
scope.” He hadn’t intended mention¬
ing that he could see the Om bodies
in their “invisible” state!
(Continued On Page 106)
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Science Fiction Stories
(Continued From Page 105)
“I—I see,” murmured Hoagland.
For the first time he seemed to really
see John Smith. He stared into the
young astronomer’s steel-flecked gray
eyes, and his own wavered. A puz¬
zled expression crossed his face, that
same expression which Smith had
seen on so many other faces of peo¬
ple seeing him for the first time.
Smith stirred uncomfortably, glanced
at Leona, was surprised to see her
eyelids drooping over her dark eyes,
as if in an attempt to hide within
herself some half-formed thought. A
faint, indefinable movement pulled
his eyes over to the dimly lit tele¬
He shot to his feet. Over the eye¬
piece there hovered a vague blur in
the outline of a man. The blur van¬
ished from the eyepiece, as Smith
leaped toward it, swept over to where
| the girl was sitting meditatively. The
blur hovered over her. She rose
Smith leaped toward her. She was
becoming vague, shadowy. With a
hoarse cry, John Smith landed by her
vanishing form, sought to grasp it.
Then it was being swept away from
him. Two blurred streaks of motion
swept toward the Observatory door.
“It’s locked,” shouted Smith, rush¬
ing toward the door. “They can’t
The blurs hesitated a moment at
the door, as if encountering i„n initial
surface tension. Then they melted
through, out of sight.
Smith hurled himself at the door,
jabbed the hidden sliding mechanism.
As the door slid aside he rushed into
the corridor. The blurs were van¬
ishing into the automatic elevator,
the door clanged shut as Smith
smashed up against it.
“What was it?” gasped Hoagland.
He and Carter had come up behind
Smith. “Was it . . . Om?”
“It was!” gritted Smith, jabbing
uselessly at the elevator call button.
Hoagland shook his head. “Pursuit
is useless. Where would we pursue
to? In this state of accelerated fre¬
quency they are utterly beyond our
Smith dashed back into the ob-
“But why did he take your wife?”
“As a warning to me.” Smith's
voice hit low octaves. “He must have
entered the Observatory when Carter
came in, for a final check up on the
approaching spaceship. . I had the
telescope following it automatically,
since it is still maintaining the same
orbit. Om must have read in my
mind that I intended to ignore his
“Perhaps,”^ said huskSy^'ln some
strange way, you are beyond his pow¬
er. . .”
S TRANGELY, the ship still fol¬
lowed the same path, as though
automatically guided, and would land
somewhere in this city this afternoon.
Doubtless it would be beamed in by
some private landing base controlled
by Om. Well, he would see about
that. . .
The ship was still
ently, to normal
some technique of
terfered with rei
Smith ignored the jibe that, appeared
(Continued On Page 108)
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base, had perceived Smith’s preoccu¬
pation, and tactfully left him alone,
the most powerful in the city, sup-
He started back as the circular
door whirled about, screwing out,
then swinging open on hinges. The
interior was lighted.
Smith waited for a long moment,
watching, then as nothing emerged,
he stepped inside, breathlessly.
Inside was absolute silence. Smith
looked around at the strange-looking
dials and controls lining the interior.
His eyes stopped at a figure lying
on a couch at one end, held there by
straps. Slowly Smith moved closer,
stared down at the face of the occu¬
Smith’s eyes changed color from
purple to ultra-red, then became nor¬
mal again. He staggered back, his
keen intellect completely at a loss for
The figure lying on the cot was—
himself! The features were those of
Smith, every line and angle. The
steel-flecked eyes were open in death.
Apparently the man had known he
was dying, and had strapped himself
The Answer Out of Space
onto the cot, and set the automatic
controls for earth. The man, Smith
knew instinctively, was not just a
close double of his; there was some¬
“I would have spared you this!”
said a voice.
Smith whirled around. He reeled
back again. For he, himself, stood
there in double—two of him, gazing
sorrowfully back at him as from mir¬
rors. They must have just entered
from outside the ship.
“What—how—who are—” Smith
gave it up, looked with thunder¬
struck eyes at the figure on the cot,
then back at the two living replicas
One spoke again. “We are Cun¬
ningham—or Om. You are one of us.
It was I who first visited your Ob¬
servatory-disguised !” The speaker
pointed to the figure on the cot. "He
perished in space and is now lost to
the indivisible ego that is us and you.
The Self now activates only three
body-attributes—we, and you—the
one kept separate!”
Smith struggled to right his
stunned perceptions. “I am one of
you?” he stammered.
“You are us,” was the reply. “And
we are you. Our ego is one and in¬
divisible. At the age of four, you
were isolated, dissociated, from the
other three physical attributes of our
joint ego. We early realized the sor¬
row that was in store for us within
human society, due to our difference
from the rest of humanity. We
therefore caused one physical self—
you—to live as a single being, your
ego the same as ours, but memory
associations isolated within your one
mind, your rapport with the other
three physical attributes blocked off,
your mind and personality split off
from the central ego, and yet stem¬
ming from that ego!”
PgpHINGS were clicking into place
Ji. in Smith’s adaptable mind. Much
was suddenly clear.
“My wife—Leona,” he burst out.
“Here!” said a soft voice, and an
arm circled his. Leona had been
standing behind him. “After hear-
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ing Dr. Hoagland’s story,” she went
on, “I began to suspect the truth
about your strange powers. The Om
self who was then invisibly present
in the Observatory, read my mind,
took me away to prevent me telling
you I suspected you were one of the
quadruplets. For had I told you this,
you would have sought them out, to
learn the truth. The life you had
built up as a single, normal individual
would have crashed down! Of course
I was to be released as soon as I had
been warned of the consequences of
John Smith took a moment to re¬
lease the pent-up emotions of reunion
with the girl he had thought lost.
“And that was why ‘Om’ acted so
strangely in my presence,” he asked
them all, marveling.
Leona nodded, as the two Om
selves waited smilingly. “He was
wearing a plastic mask at that first
meeting,” she said. “Or you would
have recognized yourself in him.
Even so, as you and Om faced one
another in the Observatory the urge
of your joint ego to unite, to coalesce,
was overwhelmingly strong. Your
minds flowed together for an instant.
To avoid complete reunion of the
selves then and there, Om vanished
by passing into his higher frequency
condition. You see, it is the plural¬
ity, the merging of more than one
mind, that gives this power, as Dr
“Like this!” broke on one of the
selves. At once, in a t
whelming surge, r
an amazing expansion of conscious¬
ness. Vast knowledge and powers
were his. He understood space and
time and motion and matter. Why,
it would be simple to accelerate the
vibratory rate of his electrons, pass
into the high frequency state of mat¬
ter! And he was plural. From three
form attributes the unified ego r
looked out with an extraordi
three-fold perspective that saw
esences of form and matter, t
space, instead of their secondary ef¬
fects. Leona looked particularly mar¬
velous, the many aspects of her that
The Answer Out of Space
John Smith saw, melting into one be¬
ing of superb beauty!
And memory! The whole panorama
of his multiple life spread before him.
Not only the memories he had ac¬
quired in his John Smith self, but
also those of the other selves. How,
after leaving the Doctor’s home, their
sensitive ego brooding with hurt,
one self was purposely separated, dis¬
sociated, “blocked off” from the rest,
to live as a normal human being, a
single physical entity. Left at an
orphanage step, with knowledge only
that his name was ‘John Smith’. How
the others had avoided the ken of
ordinary human society, nameless,
within society but not of it, until
safely attaining full maturity and
How the mature selves, in tentative
excursions into society, had aroused
instinctive antagonism, even panic,
and had finally given it up. For
even the Smith self, sacrificing the
powers in plurality, successfully dis¬
sociated from the others, aroused
vague instinctive reactions in people!
For as one of the quadruplets, he re¬
tained their organic superiority.
And suddenly he was John Smith
again, looking at the other two from
the mind and body of John Smith.
“The reunion lasted but a few sec¬
onds,” one of the other selves said.
“It was the quickest way to acquaint
you with the truth, without long ex¬
planations. But we must part quick¬
ly, else the merging into one will be¬
come permanent. The dissociation of
one self has been successful and must
continue. Permanent coalescence
would cause subtle changes in you.
People would cringe from you, dis¬
trust you instinctively as they do
“But this spaceship, and the dead
self,” Smith asked. He had not had
*lime to review these later events and
the memory of them was now with¬
drawn. “What does it mean?”
“When we learned of the impossi¬
bility of living among humans we ex¬
perimented with space flight,” said
one. “This ship is our first creation.
Only one physical attribute went on
this first journey, we following him
(Continued On Page 112)
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(Continued From Page 111)
mentally, through our common rap¬
port. Perhaps on another planet is a
society where it is not a crime to be
—different! But this attempt failed.
The inimical rays of space caused the
ego to withdraw from this body on
the cot. First, however, knowing of
impending death, the stricken self
set the ship for earth. Our rapport
was cut off at the death of this at¬
tribute. When we heard you bread-
cast your discovery of a spaceship,
we naturally came to the Observatory
to see if it was our ship. Upon see¬
ing it was, it became our main pur¬
pose to prevent you from meeting the
ship, learning the truth! But let us
emerge from this dismal ship.”
O UTSIDE was the small rocket
ship by which the two Cun¬
ningham—or Om—selves and Leona
had arrived, when they saw the space¬
ship was being diverted to this land¬
“You and your wife will take this
flier and return to your home,” said
“After devising protective meas¬
ures, we shall go forth into space, to
continue our search for another so¬
ciety,” was the reply. “Any more
contact between us will imperil your
status as a single being. Then you
would arouse the same extreme reac¬
tions in people that we do. Vast,
spacial distances between us will mit¬
igate that peril .
“But I feel
Two heads shook in unison. “You
do not accuse your left hand of slack¬
ing if your right can do the job bet¬
ter! We are all one ego. We are the
forerunners of a more highly evolved
humanity. It is we two who are the
slackers. It is you who stay behind
to prepare the ground for the ap¬
pearance of others of our kind! For
others there will be . .
As John Smith and his wife soared
homeward in the little rocket, they
gazed into one another’s eyes, and
pondered that last statement.
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